Minnesota is no stranger to the financial fallout from major Ponzi schemes. The Trevor Cook and Tom Petters cases occurred here, and both led to huge losses for investors.
Numerous Minnesotans also have been greatly affected, however, by the Bernard Madoff case. Madoff was the architect of the biggest and perhaps best-known of recent Ponzi schemes.
A zip code analysis of Madoff's client list showed the Twin Cities as one of the geographic centers in which victims were clustered. The Minneapolis - St. Paul area ranked third or fourth on the list, with loss estimates ranging up to $300 million. The Jewish community in the Twin Cities was particularly hard hit.
Two years after the Madoff scandal came to light, many of his victims are now enduring a new round of pain - and many are preparing for business litigation. The trustee assigned by the court to liquidate Madoff's firm has filed a wave of lawsuits seeking to "claw back" money from investors and others who may have benefited from the fraud.
Investors are not the only group of Madoff victims facing these suits. The trustee is also going after charitable foundations that had invested money with Madoff.
Like the Petters clawback cases, the Madoff cases could take years to resolve. How they play out could vary considerably from victim to victim. Those who invested more with Madoff than they actually withdrew may be able to recover some of their original money. But those who withdrew more than they invested could be forced to give back some of their gains, even if they did know not that Madoff's supposed profits were illusory.