Billionaire Widow Gives $7.2 Billion Back To Madoff Victims

Victims of douchebag-supreme Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme are getting an early Christmas present. The widow of one of Madoff’s biggest beneficiaries has agreed to return $7.2 billion in proceeds to those who were defrauded.

Barbara Picower is the widow of billionaire philanthropist Jeffrey Picower, the most successful beneficiary of Madoff’s madness. And while the court-appointed trustee for the victims has said there is no way the late Picower could not have known he was profiting from fraud, Ms. Picower maintains her husband’s innocence and says she’s returning the money because it’s the right thing to do.

“This settlement honors what Jeffry would have wanted,” she said in a statement, “which is to return this money so that it can go directly to the victims of Madoff.”

Big Bad Bernie is currently serving a 150-year sentence in a medium security federal prison in Butner, N.C.

Last week, on the second anniversary of his arrest, Madoff’s son Mark, who was also a target of a lawsuit by the trustee committed suicide by hanging himself.

Feds nab $7.2 billion for Madoff victims [CNN]

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  1. Blueskylaw says:

    “she’s returning the money because it’s the right thing to do”

    Comcast and credit card companies will take you to court for a few hundred dollars so I don’t think that someone would voluntarily return $7.2 billion unless there is something to hide.

    That said, imagine how much money she still has left. I don’t think she will be applying for food stamps anytime soon.

    • theblackdog says:

      It is probably because people are trying to find a reason to sue the hell out of her.

    • Bluto says:

      What do Comcast and credit card companies have to do with this? And what’s it matter how much she has left? She doesn’t have to give anything back, but she is. I’m a cynical guy, but come on!

    • DanRydell says:

      1. widow of billionaire philanthropist Jeffrey Picower
      2. “This settlement honors what Jeffry would have wanted,”

      Her husband made a habit of giving his money away. Knowingly or unknowingly he did profit from Madoff’s ponzi scheme. Thousands of other people suffered financial harm as a result of the scheme. It’s not unreasonable to conclude that her husband the philanthropist would have given the money back. Or you could be cynical.

    • guroth says:

      I bet it is some kind of scheme! By giving 7.2 billion dollars away, she is probably making like 17.2 billion dollars! It has something to do with taxes, amirite?

    • anduin says:

      lawsuits already popped up long ago against her husband when he was still alive to try and get some of the money back, ultimately people lost out because of their greed and this is one guy that got out while the gettings were good. If I were her I’d skip out of the US, I mean with 7.2 billion, you can build your own fortress anywhere in the world…except the US.

    • ames says:

      “Comcast and credit card companies will take you to court for a few hundred dollars so I don’t think that someone would voluntarily return $7.2 billion unless there is something to hide.”

      I really don’t understand the parallel you’re trying to draw here. Other than we bitch about Comcast and credit card companies a lot here at consumerist?

      Regardless, the man was a philanthropist. Look it up, and then ponder why his wife may want to continue his work.

  2. SCott says:

    _Gives_? Really?

    She was sued and was settling the suit to escape further prosecution and potentially worst outcomes for herself.

    • outlulz says:

      But if her husband really had no idea what Madoff was doing then it’s still good for her for agreeing to give the money back without a fight. And her husband was a philanthropist anyway.

  3. RandomHookup says:

    But weren’t a high percentage of the victims Jewish?

    http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2008/12/charities_old_people_jews_hit.html

  4. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    “The trustee has sued at least 400 investors, who withdrew more money from Madoff than they invested. Many of these investors say that had no idea Madoff was operating a Ponzi scheme, and they thought they were withdrawing legitimate returns.

    … The trustee has acknowledged 2,363 claims as legitimate; totaling nearly $5.9 billion in damages.”

    First, why must Picower have known if thousands of other investors did not?

    Second, she is returning more money than the combined loss for all legitimate claims.

    I give this woman all my kudos.

    • McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

      If 7.2B > 5.9B, then where is the remaining 1.3B going (more given recoveries already occured)? And given this gap, how are those with losses only going to be able to recoup around 1/2 their losses at this point?

      Madoff math confuses the heck out of me.

    • ndonahue says:

      The somewhat spurious allegation is that someone as financially astute as Picower (who was a Wall St. Ninja in his own right) should have known that the consistency of the return from the Madoff investments was statistically impossible.

      This was a good guy, and his widow is agreeing to something very good and altruistic by returning those funds.

      The court appointed trustee for the victims needs to be a bit of ass in the language he uses in filing his suits against investors, but this is a case where he’d do well to acknowledge that the widow’s agreement is an incredibly gracious act.

      • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

        ANYONE investing large sums of money needs to be ‘financially astute’ otherwise a fool and his money… Another question is, if it was so obvious why didn’t the SEC step in years ago?

        Reality is, it’s all a big crap game and the house has rigged the roulette table. But, that’s how this country runs. Investment bankers get $700,000,000,000 of the treasury for no legitimate reason. (i.e. no FDIC) But then again, it worked well with the savings and loan scam back in the 80s why not do it again?

        • dadelus says:

          Haven’t you seen any of the testimony regarding how badly asleep at the wheel the SEC was in regards to the Madoff affair? There was a guy handing them documents showing how impossible Mr. Madoffs returns were for years and they still didn’t pay attention.

          • MrEvil says:

            And in the wake of Bernie Madoff there were tons more small accounting/investment firms that were doing the exact same shit. One was in my hometown of Amarillo Texas. He was doing the exact same thing as Madoff. He got thrown under the jail, and a couple people committed suicide over that as well. There’s another scumbag investment broker in Amarillo promising 10% return in the first year and that your investment will NEVER lose value. I expect to see him next on the Federal court docket.

            Bernie Madoff was just the first cockroach to come out from under the rock. And we’re just now starting to kick the rocks over to see what else is lurking under there.

        • Chaosium says:

          “Another question is, if it was so obvious why didn’t the SEC step in years ago?”

          Because they didn’t want to.

          It WAS obvious and everyone ignored the whistleblowers.

      • Chaosium says:

        “The somewhat spurious allegation is that someone as financially astute as Picower (who was a Wall St. Ninja in his own right) should have known that the consistency of the return from the Madoff investments was statistically impossible.

        This was a good guy, and his widow is agreeing to something very good and altruistic by returning those funds.”

        I don’t see why both of these statements can’t be true.

        I think it’s a good thing funds are being returned, AND everyone involved should have known that their astronomic gains were ponzi’d.

  5. TWSS says:

    Eh, they were probably going to go after her legally anyway.

    More details:
    http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2010/12/17/big-settlement-with-madoff-investor-near/

    Also, Ruth? Pay attention – this is how a real human acts.

    • SecretShopper: pours out a lil' liquor for the homies Wasp & Otter says:

      Also, Ruth? Pay attention – this is how a real human acts

      I couldn’t agree more, Barbara Picower, acted like a real person who felt empathy for those who were defrauded.

  6. Doreen DelPurgatorio says:

    Barbara Picower is a long-term philanthropist — she and her husband had a foundation that gave away billions before Madoff bankrupted the foundation. It’s good to see that a life of doing good work continues. She honors her husband’s memory and her own legacy.

  7. Thoughtfull says:

    In reponse to Doreen, please read the Wikipedia info on the Pickowers and then consider what motivated/motivates them. I wish it were ture that all who identify as philanthropists were sweet and sincere, humble and caring.

  8. TasteyCat says:

    People were only “victims” of their own greed. It sounded too good to be true, but they didn’t care. They should count themselves lucky to get anything back.

  9. kross10c says:

    I’m surprised he hasn’t been shanked yet

  10. hypnotik_jello says:

    Well, either way, the float on $7.2bn must be pretty nice.

  11. Intheknow says:

    Not “madness” – EVIL, pure and simple.

  12. sopmodm14 says:

    its a nice gesture, but i think *ALL* beneficiaries should pay back restitution, maybe a reverse ponzi scheme for paybacks