The trustee recovering money for Bernard Madoff's burned investors has reached a $7.2 billion settlement with the estate of a Florida philanthropist and businessman who had been the single-largest beneficiary of the fraud.
The settlement with the estate of Jeffry Picower was detailed Friday in Manhattan court papers.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (bah-RAHR'-ah) called it "a truly historic settlement" and a "game changer for Madoff's victims." Bharara said roughly half of the $20 billion in principle lost by victims has been now recovered.
Barbara Picower, representing her late husband's estate, entered into the agreement with the U.S. attorney's office.
She said in a statement that her husband was "in no way complicit" with Madoff's fraud. She said the estate would "return every penny received" through Madoff investments.
Picower drowned after suffering a heart attack in the swimming pool of his Palm Beach, Fla., mansion on Oct. 25, 2009.