6/24/12---REUTERS---EXCERPT Money manager Ezra Merkin has agreed to pay $410 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the NYAG that accused Merkin of steering client money to Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff...... Under the agreement, Merkin will pay $405 million to compensate investors over three years, the person said. The other $5 million will go to the state.
The settlement does not resolve a separate case brought against Merkin by Irving Picard, the trustee seeking money for all of Madoff's victims. Picard is trying to claw back $500 million that Merkin and his funds withdrew from accounts with Madoff.
The NYAG's lawsuit, brought in 2009 said Merkin "recklessly" fed money from investors in his funds into Madoff's Ponzi scheme, while claiming he actively managed their money. Merkin held himself out as an "investing guru" and collected more than $470 million in management and other fees while he was really a "master marketer," the lawsuit said. The lawsuit accused Merkin of self-dealing, reckless conduct and gross negligence. It sought restitution and damages and to stop Merkin from serving on any n/p organization or as an investment manager.
Merkin had some $2.4 billion invested with Madoff, according to the lawsuit. Merkin, a graduate of Columbia College and Harvard Law School, was a trustee, along with Madoff, of Yeshiva University. The university lost $110 million to Madoff. Charities and other nonprofits are among those whose funds went to Madoff through Merkin without their knowledge.
Merkin resigned as nonexecutive chairman of GMAC LLC, the financing arm of General Motors, after the Madoff scandal. GMAC is now Ally Financial.