Government officials said on Friday that they settled a multi-billion lawsuit with one of Bernard Madoff’s key investors. The estate of Jeffry Picower, who died in October 2009 at the age of 67, was sued by trustee Irving Picard, who said that the billionaire philanthropist the largest beneficiary of the Madoff fraud.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the settlement is for $7.2 billion. The amount approximated the excess of the amounts taken out of Madoff funds over the amounts that Picower invested in the funds.
The monies will be added to the $2.3 billion already recovered by Picard from asset sales and other settlements, bringing the total collections to nearly $10 billion. Based on estimates of claims filed by victims, said to be about $20 billion, the Picower recovery should help investors recover 50 percent of their losses.
Picard claimed in court documents that Picower, an investor in the Madoff funds for over 20 years, was sophisticated and should have known that the high rates of return were highly implausible, and that Madoff was running a fraud operation. However, Picower’s wife, Barbara, said that she was confident that her husband was not aware of the Ponzi scheme and that returning the money was the right thing to do.
Picower was working on a settlement at the time of his death. He was suffering from Parkinson’s disease and heart problems, and found dead in the swimming pool of his Palm Beach oceanfront mansion after suffering a heart attack.