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It's always a bad sign for those still waiting to get their MF Global money to wake up to a front-page Wall Street Journal story saying that "officials hunting for an estimated $1.2 billion in missing customer money increasingly believe that much of it might never be recovered."

Previously it looked as though regulators and probably the company's CEO Jon Corzine knew where that shortfall ended up without saying where they thought it went publicly. Some news outlets reported that, for example, roughly $200 million of the missing customer money went to JP Morgan. And today, The Journal's Scott Patterson and Aaron Lucchetti make the case for why that missing $1.2 billion is gone forever. One hypothesis floated again is that MF Global employees dipped into customer money to improperly use in other parts of the company. Another theory is that the company simply lost customers' funds on bad bets outside of the European bond market: "Investigators also are examining other scenarios that have gained traction in recent weeks, such as the possibility that MF Global suffered steep losses on investments made using customer money."

As for getting that money back from JP Morgan and other third parties through which MF Global passed funds, that might not be so easy: "[B]ecause the firms usually were middlemen between MF Global and other counterparties, the funds they touched were then scattered widely, complicating the search."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.