New victims of Bernard Madoff's alleged Ponzi scheme emerged Thursday, joining thousands of celebrities, charities, business leaders and others previously identified as having lost their investments.
The New York City-based Police Athletic League lost $500,000 that New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon donated in 2006 for a youth baseball program.
Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, longtime chairman of the youth recreation program, said Wilpon — himself a Madoff investment victim — recommended that the money be invested with the man now infamous for allegedly running a $50 billion financial scam.
"It's all gone, unless we find it in Gibraltar or someplace," said Morgenthau."It's a big blow."
Wilpon's business spokesman could not be reached for coment.
Prominent attorney Melvyn Weiss, once both renowned and reviled for winning multi-million dollar judgments in securities class-action lawsuits against major firms nationwide, also lost money with Madoff.
Weiss, convicted last year in a conspiracy that involved paying investors to serve as plaintiffs in securities cases, was deceived by Madoff's prior status as an investment guru, said attorney Benjamin Brafman.
"Mr. Weiss is bitterly disappointed not only in Bernard Madoff, but in all the regulatory agencies responsible for insuring the integrity of the markets," said Brafman, who declined to discuss the size of the loss.
Weiss and the charity were among more than 13,000 entries on a list of Madoff investment clients filed late Wednesday in federal bankruptcy court. Other newly confirmed victims on the list include baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax, actor John Malkovich, several union benefit funds and World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein.
Spokesman Bud Perrone said Silverstein's losses "absolutely pale in comparison to those innocent investors who lost their life savings as a result of this scheme."
While many of those on the list lost money, Madoff defense attorney Ira Lee Sorkin said his name was erroneously included.
"I have never at any time been a customer, investor, client or had any beneficial interest" in Madoff's investment business, said Sorkin, who referred questions about the entry to bankruptcy trustee Irving Picard.
Picard's office said only that the list was compiled from entries in Madoff's business records, plus people who called a Madoff investor hotline.