U.S. judge OKs JPMorgan $218 mln Madoff class-action settlement

NEW YORK, March 21 Fri Mar 21, 2014 3:31pm EDT

NEW YORK, March 21 (Reuters) - A federal judge on Friday gave final approval to JPMorgan Chase & Co's $218 million settlement to resolve class-action litigation accusing the largest U.S. bank of playing a central role in the huge Ponzi scheme of former client Bernard Madoff.

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan said the accord "easily meets the standards" for final approval, and provides "substantial and immediate" benefits to the swindler's former customers.

She also awarded $18 million of fees to law firms that represented the customers: Entwistle & Cappucci, and Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro.

The settlement was part of a $2.24 billion global resolution of Madoff-related matters by JPMorgan, which was Madoff's main bank for more than 20 years.

JPMorgan also agreed to pay $1.7 billion to settle civil claims by the U.S. government, and $325 million to settle claims by Irving Picard, the trustee liquidating Madoff's firm.

Picard has estimated that Madoff customers lost $17.3 billion of principal. Madoff is serving a 150-year prison term.

The cases are Hill et al v. JPMorgan Chase & Co, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 11-07961; and Shapiro et al v. JPMorgan Chase & Co et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 11-08331. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Tom Brown)