Way back in the day I invested in Winstar Communications, Inc., a telecomm that got busted in the big telecomm bubble. I didn't invest too much, luckily. Years later, circa 2006 or so, I got a letter in the mail from a law firm saying that I had been defrauded and maimed and pillaged and raped of my precious money by the Winstar management and that, if I wanted to, I could join the class-action lawsuit by filling in the included form, mailing it in, waiting for a few years (three or so if I recall correctly), and then possibly receiving a bonus bonanza check in the mail for my pain and suffering. So I did it.
My check arrived a few days ago. I unfortunately immediately threw out the accompanying letter, but it stated that investors had lost somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.4B (another "B" for billion). The total settlement for all defrauded and maimed and raped (and pillaged) former shareholders came to somewhere around $12M (that one is an "M" for million). So far we're down by a factor of 200 or so.
My check? I am staring at it right now, salivating more than I do when I am staring down a 1 1/2 pound prime rib dinner (just ask my wife). I am about to deposit it. But I don't think that $8.55 will go very far toward my kids' college educations, unfortunately. Maybe a McD's lunch sometime ...
A few years ago I got another settlement check from another bum telecomm-related burst-bubble class-action lawsuit. I sent that form in too. The check I got for that one? $.02. That may actually be worth the "... but that's just my 2 cents" jokes that come to mind, but it wasn't worth any more than that. And, yes, I deposited that one too, salivating all the way to the bank.