Creditors who wish to assert claims against two hedge funds formerly run by financier J. Ezra Merkin have until next month to submit claims to the funds’ court-appointed receiver, a Manhattan judge has ruled. The decision sets the stage for Bart M. Schwartz, the receiver for Ariel Fund Ltd. and Gabriel Fund, L.P., to make a proposed $200 million interim distribution to some 278 investors who lost more than $1 billion after Merkin funneled one-fourth of the funds’ assets to convicted Ponzi scheme artist Bernard L. Madoff.

Supreme Court Justice Richard B. Lowe’s order in People v. J. Ezra Merkin (pdf), 450879/09, sets Sept. 20 as the claims-bar date and the deadline for any objections to the proposed distribution.