A bankruptcy judge in New York ruled this week that the estate of Beverly Hills investment adviser Stanley Chais must face claims by the trustee liquidating Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.
Chais, who was accused of investing nearly $1 billion of his celebrity clients’ money in Madoff’s investment schemes, died in September at age 84. He was one of Madoff’s largest investors, and had long maintained that he had been duped himself.
According to a Bloomberg News report, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Burton Lifland refused on Thursday to dismiss Madoff trustee Irving Picard’s lawsuit seeking to recover alleged fraudulent withdrawals made by Chais and his family partnerships over 13 years, starting in 1995. However, Lifland did dismiss Picard’s claim seeking the immediate turnover of transferred funds.
Picard believes Chais was a key Madoff middleman and beneficiary of the Ponzi scheme for at least 30 years and “knew or should have known that they were reaping the benefits of manipulated purported returns, false documents and fictitious profits,” according to court filings.
Madoff pleaded guilty to fraud-related charges in March 2009 and is serving a 150-year prison sentence. Madoff investors lost about $20 billion in principal, Picard estimates.
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