Madoff Investor Agrees to Pay Back $7 Billion

The estate of the dead billionaire Jeffrey Picower has agreed to give up billions he took from his friend Bernie Madoff's accounts over the years. 

In all, federal prosecutors allege Picower improperly took out more than $7 billion dollars in profits during the years Madoff ran his massive Ponzi scheme.  

Picower at times saw returns of more than 100 percent annually on his so-called Madoff investments over 20 years.  Representatives for Picower have long denied he had knowledge of the scheme. But investigators said he knew, or should have known, the astronomical returns on his money were simply not possible.

Picower was found dead in his Palm Beach swimming pool in October 2009 from an apparent heart attack. Picower gave millions to charity over the years.  A call and email to Picower attorney William Zabel were not immediately returned.  

Officials said the full $7 billion dollars will be paid back according to the settlement agreed to by Picower's widow Barbara.  A formal announcement about the deal was expected Friday with representatives of the FBI, IRS and US Marshals' joining the US Attorney and Madoff Trustee Irving Picard.

Picard filed a flurry of lawsuits this month targeting banks, feeder funds and individuals seeking billions. Some of the lawsuits he filed under seal to keep from public view.  The funds he hopes to recover would go to repay the initial money put in by Madoff investors, some who have lost their life savings.

The settlement announcement comes just days after madoff's oldst son Mark killed himself in his Soho apartment.  Mark Madoff used a dog leash to take his own life. He had been despondent amid ongoing questions about what did Madoff relatives know and when did they know it when it came to the $65 billion dollar Ponzi scheme.  Madoff's sons have denied wrongdoing but the Trustee is suing to recover tens of millions they took out of the company.



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