Bernie Madoff Victims' Recovery Rises to Nearly $10.5bn
A file photograph of Bernard MadoffGetty

The trustee responsible for liquidating convicted fraudster Bernard Madoff's firm is seeking permission from a US judge to start the fifth interim distribution of payments.

The fifth distribution will give further $322m (€263m, £206m) to the victims of the Ponzi scheme, taking the total payout to more than $7bn. Average payout in the distribution would be $299,900, Reuters reported.

A court hearing to consider approving the payout has been scheduled for 15 January.

The trustee, Irving Picard, has earlier reached three settlements with various defendants totalling more than $642m.

Picard has so far recouped about $10.5bn or about 60% of the $17.5bn estimated loss of Madoff customers in the Ponzi scheme.

Once the fifth interim distribution is complete, 1,154 accounts that victims held at Madoff's firm will be fully satisfied, according to Picard. In total, the trustee has allowed 2,547 claims related to 2,213 accounts.

In the ongoing criminal case related to the fraud, Bernard Madoff's longtime assistant, Annette Bongiorno was recently sentenced to a six-year prison term, while his former computer programmer, Jerome O'Hara, received two-and-a-half years.

Other Madoff employees convicted in March are former back-office director Daniel Bonventre, computer programmer George Perez and portfolio manager Joann Crupi.

Fifteen people have been convicted so far in connection with the fraud, which is estimated to have costed investors more than $17bn (£10.9bn, €13.8bn).

Madoff pleaded guilty in 2009 and was sentenced to 150 years in prison for controlling the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. His brother Peter Madoff pleaded guilty in 2012 to his part in the fraud and was sentenced to 10 years in jail.