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Madoff victims can’t sue big banks, court rules

NEW YORK — A federal appeals court has blocked a trustee from recovering money for victims of Bernard Madoff’s mammoth fraud from major financial institutions.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled Thursday. It says Trustee Irving Picard lacked standing to sue on behalf of investors.

Two lower-court judges had rejected Picard’s efforts to recover billions of dollars from several dozen financial institutions in the U.S. and abroad.

Picard had alleged in lawsuits that banks earned hundreds of millions of dollars in fees to process Madoff’s investor money while ignoring obvious warning signs of fraud.

Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence. He admitted in 2009 that he cheated thousands of investors out of roughly $20 billion in a multi-decade fraud.