Saturday, December 18, 2010

As the Picower Estate Agrees to Repay $7.2 Billion to Madoff Ponzi Victims: How Much Was Picower Worth?

From the Boston Globe:

Picower estate adds $7.2b to Madoff fund
Bernard Madoff’s victims got a glimmer of good news yesterday, as officials won a record $7.2 billion settlement with the estate of philanthropist Jeffry Picower, a client of the convicted swindler who received false profits over 35 years, money that actually belonged to other investors lured into the scheme.

Together with other settlements reached in recent days, including $625 million from Boston philanthropist Carl Shapiro, the money available to repay some of the investors’ losses is growing. But many former Madoff clients still feel deeply singed two years after the massive fraud, and doubt they will ever recover their money....

...The Picower settlement is the largest yet in the Madoff affair, and represents all the money Jeffry Picower and his wife withdrew from Madoff accounts over nearly four decades. Picower, whose Palm Beach, Fla., foundation was a major contributor to medical research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, drowned in his swimming pool last year....MORE
And from the WSJ's The Wealth Report blog:

How Much Was Picower Worth?
The last year that Jeffry Picower and his wife were on the Forbes list was in 2009. Forbes put their net worth at $1 billion. The Picowers weren’t even on the 2008 list, or the 2007 list or any other list that I could find before that.

In other words, according to Forbes, he wasn’t even a billionaire until 2009. (His 2009 entry lists his source of wealth as “Investments, Self-made”).

Now we hear that the Picowers were worth at least $7 billion, gained from years of huge profits from investing with Madoff. Some years Mr. Picower made 950% returns. Ms. Picower today reached a settlement with the trustee in the Madoff bankruptcy to hand over $7.2 billion that the family made from the Madoff fraud.

The big unanswered question is how much the family has left. Is it billions? Millions? Thousands?
Mr. Picower’s lawyer told Forbes that Mr. Picower was worth up to $7 billion at the time of his death. Forbes says it could have been much more, since Mr. Picower had as much as $3 billion in unrealized gains in investment accounts at the time of his death (he was found dead in his Palm Beach pool in 2009). Yet it’s unclear how much of that will go to the settlement....MORE