Victims of Bernard Madoff's multi-billion dollar ponzi scheme are set to get a at least a third of their money back.
The court-appointed trustee for Madoff's investment company - Bernard Madoff Investment Securities LLC - said Friday the estate of investor and philanthropist Jeffry M. Picower had decided to give back $5 billion. That is in addition to $2.2 billion the Picower group has given up to the U.S. government already.
Irving Picard, the trustee said Friday in announcing the $7.2 billion settlements, that other settlements bring the total Customer Fund to more than $7.5 billion, which is more than one third of the total principal he estimates was lost in the Ponzi scheme.
Every penny of the $7.2 billion recovered through these two settlements will be distributed to BLMIS customers with valid claims, said Picard, the trustee, who is also an attorney with Baker & Hostetler LLP.
The settlement represents 100 percent of all the funds received by the Picower estate and related investors, Picard said. Picower died of a heart attack in 2009. Picard had sued Picower and othe related agencies in May 2009 to recover the money.
A request has been made for U.S. Bankruptcy Court to approve the settlement announced on Friday, Picard added.
The initial distribution will take place as soon as is practicable after the settlement is approved, he said.
Barbara Picower, the widow to her deceased husband embraced giving back the funds, Picard said.
He was committed to overcoming the devastation from Bernard Madoff's fraud by reaching a fair and generous settlement with Mr. Picard and also by continuing the important charitable work that had been the focus our lives for so many years, she said.
Mrs. Picower will establish a new foundation to continue their work with charities, according to Picard.