-- Bernie Madoff, America's most infamous convicted conman, will be deposed by attorneys including one of his Ponzi scheme victims, a New York judge ordered today.
A number of Madoff's victims, represented by fellow victim and attorney Helen Chaitman, sought to depose the fraudster for an ongoing dispute with the government-appointed Trustee over the recovery of the profits from Madoff's scheme.
Madoff, 77, is serving more than 150 years in a prison in North Carolina for orchestrating the $64 billion Ponzi scheme, the largest in history.
Chaitman lost her life savings when the Madoff scheme collapsed, but over the past few years she has aimed her legal acumen at Irving Picard, the government-appointed Trustee, who Chaitman says is unfairly targeting some Madoff victims for what are called "claw backs" of the money that was taken out of the Madoff account over the course of the investment. Picard's team has recovered a total of over $11 billion for Madoff victims.
Ironically, in her efforts to fight against Picard, Chaitman has enlisted the help of Madoff, who communicates with her by phone from his prison cell in Butner, N.C.
Chaitman told ABC News earlier this year that when dealing with Madoff, she overlooks the fact that he cost her and her clients their savings.
“I would not say my ally is Bernie Madoff but I am in touch with him and I do ask his assistance, if I can help the victims through what he can tell me,” she said.
Today Chaitman told ABC News, "It will be fascinating to meet him in person after having so many phone conversations with him over the past six years."
The judge's order today placed heavy restrictions on the deposition, including a provision that the deposition be kept under seal for a time and also is not be used "in any other proceedings for any reason."
In addition to taking on Picard, Chaitman recently self-published a book called "JPMadoff" containing scathing criticism of JP Morgan Chase. For decades the financial giant was the "primary bank though which Madoff ran his Ponzi scheme" and held billions in various accounts for the con man, according to the Department of Justice. The DOJ said the bank "had reason to be suspicious about Madoff."
Chaitman says that the bank, which paid a more than $1 billion fine related to the Ponzi scheme, should have been held to greater account. A representative for JP Morgan Chase said they had not read the book and had no comment.