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Hadassah to pay back $45 million of Madoff gains

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NEW YORK (JTA) — Hadassah: The Women’s Zionist Organization of America will pay back $45 million of the money it made in the Bernard Madoff scam.

Hadassah President Nancy Falchuk in a letter Thursday told the organization’s supporters of the settlement reached by the group with the trustee of Madoff’s estate.

The organization, which began investing with Bernard Madoff Securities in 1988 with a $7 million gift,  and then deposited another $33 million in its Madoff accounts, and by April 2007 had withdrawn $137 million. The last account statement showed approximately $90 million at the time the fraud was discovered.

The $45 million is half of what Hadassah earned unwittingly in the scam. With the settlement, Hadassah avoids a lawsuit by the trustee, Irving Picard, who already has sued a number of individuals, organizations and foundations that made money in the Madoff fraud.

“As painful as it is, this settlement is in the best interest of Hadassah," Falchuk wrote in the letter. "It allows us to put this chapter behind us, and move forward with our critical life-affirming mission. A charitable mission praised by the trustee for its philanthropic value.”

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