NEW YORK - The trustee seeking money for victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme, who lost an estimated $20 billion, may pursue claims against wives of the imprisoned swindler's sons, a US federal court judge said on Wednesday.
US Bankruptcy Judge Burton Lifland in Manhattan said the trustee Irving Picard may pursue about $43 million of claims against Deborah Madoff, who married Andrew Madoff; and $33 million of claims against Stephanie Mack, the widow of Mark Madoff.
The judge said Picard may do this by adding the women as defendants to an earlier complaint against several defendants including Andrew Madoff and the estate of Mark Madoff, who committed suicide in December 2010.
These added claims cover alleged unjust enrichment and constructive trust under New York law, according to Lifland's 21-page ruling. The judge said the trustee could not pursue similar claims against Susan Elkin, Mark Madoff's first wife, because they took place too long ago.
The trustee had sought to recover more than $255 million from Madoff's family, whom he said used the former Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC as a family "piggy bank."