Remember those first reports of up to $65 billion? Well, the court-appointed trustee has been totaling the actual cash losses and so far the number is $21.2 billion. Ever since the scandal broke, the numbers have bounced around quite a bit because it's been tough to separate real money from the made-up profits that Bernie was touting. Also keep in mind that holders of 2,660 Madoff accounts withdrew more than they deposited (2,300 accounts put more in than was withdrawn). Piecing together who is owed what sounds like an immense undertaking. From the NYT:
Irving H. Picard, the trustee, said in a telephone news conference on Wednesday that he expected the actual cash losses "could increase some over the course of the next few months" as his investigators push deeper into the past of the fraud. So far, they have reconstructed account records going back to 1983, but Mr. Picard said it might be possible, using microfiche and microfilm records, to go back as far as the late 1970s. Mr. Madoff founded his brokerage firm in 1960, but it is not clear how early he initiated his Ponzi scheme.