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You CAN’T take it with you, so what happened to Bernie Madoff’s money?

The man behind the largest Ponzi scheme in history died today. Did his victims ever get repaid?

You CAN’T take it with you, so what happened to Bernie Madoff’s money?
Bernard Madoff [Photo: Stephen Chernin/Getty Images]
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Bernie Madoff, the man behind the largest Ponzi scheme in history, died today, but you have to wonder how many people are celebrating that.

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He swindled tens of thousands of victims out of billions of dollars. In 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 150 years in prison.

The question now is what happened to all that money. It’s more complicated than it sounds and requires more than just one query. Here’s the breakdown:

Bottom line. Where are the bucks?

For starters, close to $3.2 billion is back in the hands of those he stole from. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Madoff Victim Fund made its sixth distribution of funds in December. That money had been forfeited to the federal government, and now close to 37,000 people have their bucks back. If you’re doing math with these huge figures, know that victims have now recovered about 80.05% of what they’re getting through this fund, according to the DOJ.

What’s the end game?

They’re looking at a total of more than $4 billion, according to the DOJ, adding that the Madoff Victim Fund has fielded 65,000-plus victim petitions from 136 countries.

Was paying back money part of Madoff’s sentence?

Yes. When sentenced for 11 felony counts, Madoff was ordered to forfeit just under $170.8 billion, which the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said “represents the total proceeds of and property involved in certain of Madoff’s crimes.”