"Paul will not generally complain when one robs Peter to pay Paul. In this case, however, there could be worse news downstream for the investors who have already lost millions of dollars. An additional wrinkle to the scandal is the United States Federal Bankruptcy Court decision in the Bayou case. That case held that earlier investors must give back the money that they 'earned' from the Ponzi.
Payments by Mr. Madoff to the earlier investors were fraudulent conveyances - an illegal transfer of property with the intent of committing fraud. The earlier investors were, in fact - albeit innocently - beneficiaries of the fraudulent scheme. The investors must refund their improperly earned money into the pool of assets from which all - old and new - victims will share, if there is anything to share. Thus, we can expect to hear a lot of complaining from Paul."
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