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Madoff Investor Returns $7.2 Billion to Ponzi Victims

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New York, NYThe estate of Jeffrey M. Picower, a philanthropist and investor from Palm Beach, has reached a settlement with the Trustee charged with recovering assets from the Madoff bankruptcy, Irving H. Picard, and the United States attorney for the Southern District, Preet Bharara that will see a total of $7.2 billion cash made available to compensate the victims of Bernard Madoff's global ponzi scheme. The announcement comes on the heels of the suicide of 46-year old son Mark Madoff, who hung himself in his New York loft this week.

The terms of the settlement reportedly stipulate that $2.2 billion goes to a federal victims fund to resolve a lawsuit filed last year, and $5 billion will be placed in care with the Trustee.

Picower's widow said in a statement released to the press on December 17, "I am announcing today that we have reached a settlement with the Trustee and the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York and that we will return every penny received from almost 35 years of investing with Bernard Madoff, an amount totalling $7.2 billion that will go to the Madoff victims' compensation fund. "

The settlement constituted the largest single forfeiture in American judicial history, Mr. Bharara said.

Mrs. Picower said in her statement that she was confident that her husband had not been involved in the ponzi scheme, calling it 'deplorable', and that returning the gains was the right thing to do.

Picard has said that cash losses from the Madoff scheme total nearly $20 billion. The settlement from the Picower estate will go some way to helping Madoff's victims recover their losses. According to a statement by Picard, all of the $7.2 billion will be distributed to Madoff customers with valid claims. Picard said he expected to make a distribution to victims by the end of the first quarter of 2011.

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