Bernard Madoff's billionaire friend Jeffry Picower, who was found dead at the bottom of a pool on Sunday at his Palm Beach mansion, was the biggest beneficiary of the Madoff scam, according to this ABC News video report.Picower, 67, suffered a heart attack while swimming on Sunday in his pool and drowned, according to results from the autopsy reported in today's New York Times. Police are still investigating the death, according to reports.
Picower withdrew $7.2 billion of other investor's money from the Madoff Ponzi scheme, which is 30 times more than Madoff himself made from the scheme. "He was the largest feeder of money into the Madoff partnerships scam and he took out the most," according to Brian Brian Ross, ABC's chief investigator news reporter in the video interview, who adds, "One third of the money that was missing in this scam went into the pockets of Jeffery Picower, " added Ross.
Today's New York Timesdescribes Picower as a well-known Wall Street investor who had a professional and personal relationship with Madoff going back several decades. Picower and his wife Barbara ran a foundation that gave money to M.I.T., the New York Public Library and to the Harvard Medical School. The Picowers said they had to close their foundation (with over $614 million in assets) after the scandal broke in December of last year, and portrayed themselves as victims. But in May, the bankruptcy trustee, seeking to recover assets for Madoff victims,sued Picower in federal court for more than $5 billion and then upped that sum to $7 billion. The trustee Irving Picard found out that the Picards had trouble getting money back from Madoff as early as September 2003 and on several other occasions, according to the New York Times. In court papers, Picard asserted that should have alerted Picower that Madoff's money management business was a fraud, according to The Times.
Picower is believed to have played a major behind-the-scenes role in the scandal and will take those secrets to his grave, noted ABC's Ross in the video interview. Picower who was the target of civil suits by Madoff victims, was likely to face criminal charges.
With all the media attention, Picower was under pressure and had initiated settlement talks with the trustee to avoid years of litigation. Picard can still pursue the money from the estate and from other family members, the Times reported.Bernard Madoff's billionaire friend Jeffry Picower, who was found dead at the bottom of a pool on Sunday at his Palm Beach mansion, was the biggest beneficiary of the Madoff scam, Ivy is Editor-at-Large for Advanced Trading and Wall Street & Technology. Ivy is responsible for writing in-depth feature articles, daily blogs and news articles with a focus on automated trading in the capital markets. As an industry expert, Ivy has reported on a myriad ... View Full Bio