Officials can now start selling off parts of Bernard Madoff's investment firm in an effort to help recoup some money for swindled investors.

A U.S. bankruptcy court judge Tuesday approved the use of $28 million to cover employee salaries and other expenses of the liquidation.

Authorities arrested Madoff, the firm's owner, earlier this month and charged him with securities fraud.  Prosecutors say Madoff stole some $50 billion from clients around the globe in a pyramid investment scheme.

Trustee Irvin Picard is working to collect as much cash as possible from Madoff to reimburse the creditors of the failed investment firm.  

Madoff faces a Wednesday deadline to provide U.S. regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission with information on where he keeps his money and personal assets.

The information could help determine how much money Madoff's alleged victims can recover.

Court papers show that Bank of New York Mellon Corporation has already turned over more than $880.000 to the trustee to cover costs tied to the liquidation of Madoff's firm.

Prosecutors say Madoff illegally used money from new investors to pay interest to previous ones, luring clients with what looked like a steady source of lucrative profits.  

Analysts say the scheme could rank as one of the biggest frauds in history.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.