SARASOTA — A federal judge authorized the disbursement of $26 million to victims of the Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Arthur Nadel, the Sarasota financier who died in prison last month.
U.S. District Judge Richard Lazzara approved the payments — the initial distribution of proceeds in the case. Burton Wiand, the court-appointed receiver, announced the disbursement late Monday. The payments represent about 20% of the claims the judge has approved.
The funds set for distribution stem from a series of actions Wiand has taken since he was appointed to the case in January 2009. Those include: clawback lawsuits; claims against financial institutions that worked with Nadel; and recovery and liquidation of assets acquired by Nadel, his wife and others involved in the scheme, according to a release.
The case to recoup more money for victims remains ongoing, Wiand said.
“This has been a long and difficult process in order to recover assets and funds from individuals and entities that benefited from Mr. Nadel's Ponzi scheme,” Wiand said in the release. “Most of these recoveries have required litigation and substantial efforts by attorneys of Wiand Guerra King and other law firms who have assisted me in connection with gathering these assets. I am delighted to have reached the point in time when the victims of Mr. Nadel's crimes can begin to receive a return of some of the funds that they had lost.”
Nadel pleaded guilty to 15 federal fraud charges in 2010 and was sentenced to serve 14 years in prison. Authorities accused Nadel of running a Ponzi scheme that cost investors $162 million. Nadel died in a North Carolina prison April 16.