Picower Death May Stall Suit for Madoff Billions

Will be harder for bilked investors to recoup losses
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 26, 2009 9:40 AM CDT
Jeffry and Barbara Picower   (Lucien Capehart/MIT)

(Newser) – The death of Jeffry Picower, accused of profiting more than $7 billion from the investment schemes of longtime pal Bernard Madoff, will make it more difficult for suing investors to recoup their money, attorneys said late yesterday. Palm Beach police are investigating the death, after Picower's wife discovered the 67-year-old's body at the bottom of the pool at their $33 million oceanside mansion. Picower's doctor said he was suffering from heart disease and Parkinson's.

Trustee Irving Picard demanded Picower return more than $7 billion, arguing that his accounts with Madoff were "riddled with blatant and obvious fraud," and as a sophisticated investor he should have recognized that. In an emailed statement yesterday, Picard said  "litigation will continue." Lawyers said Picower's death could put an end to settlement talks that had begun. "It may cause those who have control of his assets to fight harder because there is no longer any personal dignity or desire to settle and move on," one told the AP.