Madoff losses inflated

NEW YORK — Some clients of disgraced financier Bernard Madoff are concluding that their losses weren't as bad as originally thought.

Three organizations that invested heavily with the Wall Street money manager lowered their estimated losses this week as it became apparent that much of the money that vanished from their balance sheets probably never existed in the first place.

Madoff was arrested Dec. 11 after allegedly telling investigators he lost as much as $50 billion in client money in a giant Ponzi scheme in which money from new investors was used to pay profits to older ones.

This week, Yeshiva University, The American Technion Society and Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, released statements clarifying their losses.

In each case, the adjustment reflected a realization that the huge profits they thought they had made on their investments were probably fiction — meaning their losses were partly fiction too.

Hadassah, which previously said it had $90 million placed with Madoff, clarified in a Dec. 29 letter that two thirds of that amount — $60 million — constituted the huge, but probably imaginary, profits that Madoff had reported to the organization over two decades.