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Jewish Journal

Picower estate to return $7 billion made in Madoff scam

By Jacob Berkman, JTA

December 17, 2010 | 10:38 am

The estate of one of the largest beneficiaries of Bernard Madoff’s multibillion dollar Ponzi scheme, Jeffry Picower, has agreed to return $7 billion to Madoff’s victims.

The figure is the difference between the amount of cash that Picower, a Jewish investor, put into his account with Madoff and the amount that he withdrew, The New York Times reported. The deal was set to be announced at a news conference on Friday.

Picower, whose foundation gave to Jewish causes before it was wiped out by the revelation of Madoff’s fraud, was found dead of a heart attack in his swimming pool in October of 2009.

Irving Picard, the trustee for Madoff’s estate who is charged with recouping funds from those who made money on the scam, returning it to those who lost money with Madoff, has estimated that the total cash losses in the scam are about $20 billion. He has filed hundreds of so-called clawback lawsuits against those who made money and has reached significant settlements with others, including a $45 million settlement with Hadassah: The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, and a $625 million settlement with Boston-area Jewish philanthropist Carl Shapiro.

Including the reported Picower settlement, Picard will have recovered about half of what he estimates was stolen by Madoff.

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