Madoff’s relatives sued for nearly $200 million

Bernard Madoff’s two sons, his brother and niece were sued Friday for the return of nearly $200 million, which a special court-appointed trustee alleged was money taken from customers in a massive Ponzi scheme.

In a lawsuit filed in federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan, trustee Irving Picard accused Madoff’s sons, Andrew and Mark, his brother Peter and niece Shana of either failing to detect or failing to stop the fraud, which lost investors an estimated $13 billion to $18 billion.

Peter Madoff, of Old Westbury, N.Y., was chief compliance officer of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Services. Madoff’s two sons, Andrew and Mark, served as co-directors of trading at the company while niece Shana Madoff was the firm’s compliance director, according to court papers.

Picard alleged that BLMIS operated as if it were the family piggy bank, with family members taking out sums of money to fund personal business ventures and personal expenses such as homes, cars and boats.

Earlier this year, Picard sued Madoff’s wife, Ruth, for $45 million.

(c) 2009, Newsday. Source: McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.