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Jeffry Picower

jeffry picower, jeffry picower wikipedia
Jeffry M Picower May 5, 1942 – October 25, 2009 was an American investor involved in the Madoff investment scandal He appears to have been the largest beneficiary of Madoff's Ponzi scheme, and his estate settled the claims against it for $72 billion


  • 1 Business dealings
  • 2 Involvement with Bernard Madoff
  • 3 Death
  • 4 References

Business dealings

Picower was a certified public accountant and lawyer, but made most of his fortune by investing with Madoff

As an accountant at Laventhol & Horwath in the 1980s, Picower set up questionable tax shelters When the IRS challenged their validity, one of Picower's clients sued him and the firm The case was settled out of court

In 1983, Picower was rebuked by the US Securities and Exchange Commission for late disclosure of his greater than 5% position in a company involved in a merger

In 1991, Picower and Anthony Cerami established a charity, the Picower Institute for Medical Research, with an initial endowment of $10 million Researchers there, led by Kevin J Tracey, made a potentially valuable discovery, with possible applications in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, and multiple sclerosis It was spun off into a for-profit company, Cytokine Networks, which was later merged with privately held PharmaSciences to form Cytokine PharmaSciences However, it was revealed that Picower owned 76% of PharmaSciences stock and actually controlled 862%, putting him in a conflict of interest in the merger negotiations

After Physician Computer Network, Inc, went bankrupt, Picower, the chairman of the board and 45% shareholder, had to give $21 million to other shareholders in 2000 after it was discovered that company executives had falsified financial statements

Alaris Medical Systems, 65% owned by Picower, was taken over by Cardinal Health in 2004 for $16 billion

Picower was listed by Forbes magazine as one of the 400 richest people in the United States for 2009, his only time on the list Forbes, which listed Picower at no 371, placed his net worth at $1 billion, although the magazine acknowledged that the former lawyer and accountant is "likely worth billions more"

Involvement with Bernard Madoff

The Jeffry M and Barbara Picower Foundation was created in 1989 by Picower and his wife Barbara Barbara Picower was listed as Executive Director and trustee, with both Picowers being members of the board of directors Longtime friend Bernard Madoff managed foundation assets listed at over $1 billion It distributed over $268 million in grants to various American organizations, including Human Rights First and the New York Public Library In 2002, it granted $50 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology neuroscience research center, which was subsequently renamed the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory However, the Picower Foundation was forced to close in 2009 due to losses arising from the uncovering of Madoff's Ponzi scheme

It has been reported that between December 1995 and December 2008, Picower and his family withdrew "from their various Madoff accounts $51 billion more than they invested"

In June 2009, Irving Picard, the trustee liquidating Madoff's assets, filed a lawsuit against Picower in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York Manhattan, seeking the return of $72 billion in profits, alleging that Picower and his wife knew or should have known that their rates of return were "implausibly high", with some accounts showing annual returns ranging from 120% to more than 550% from 1996 through 1998, and 950% in 1999 According to a June 28, 2009, MSNBC article, that would make the Picowers the biggest beneficiaries of Madoff's scam, exceeding even Madoff himself The Picowers' lawyer, William D Zabel of Schulte Roth & Zabel, responded that, "They were totally shocked by his fraud and were in no way complicit in it"

On November 1, 2009, an additional court filing from the Madoff trustee documented an apparently fraudulent gain benefiting Picower "According to the new filing, Mr Picower opened an account with Mr Madoff on April 18, 2006, by wiring a check for $125 million, more than a quarter of the entire sum he invested with Mr Madoff over time Within two weeks, the $125 million deposit had purportedly grown to $164 million because of a dramatic ‘gain’ on the securities held in the account—all of which supposedly had been purchased three months earlier Five months later, Mr Picower withdrew his original $125 million, leaving $81 million in the account There is no legitimate explanation for these events nor any possibility that they escaped Picower’s notice"

On 17 December 2010, it was announced that a settlement of $72 billion had been reached with the Picower estate to resolve the Madoff trustee suit, and repay losses in the Madoff fraud Madoff has suggested that Picower was allowed to remain as a client because he was "the Ponzi equivalent of a bank too big to fail: an investor too big to fire" It would have been impossible for Madoff to find enough cash to completely redeem his multi-billion account


On October 25, 2009, Jeffry Picower died at his Palm Beach home Picower's wife Barbara told dispatchers she found him "at the bottom of their swimming pool" at their oceanfront estate shortly after noon, Palm Beach police said He was taken to Good Samaritan Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead about 80 minutes later

According to the Palm Beach Police Department, "An autopsy of the body of Jeffry M Picower was performed this morning The Palm Beach County Medical Examiner's Office determined that Mr Picower suffered a massive heart attack while in the swimming pool resulting in accidental drowning"

He was buried on October 27, 2009, in Mount Ararat Cemetery in Farmingdale, New York


  1. ^ Weiss, Anthony June 26, 2009 "On Madoff, Charity and Morality" The Forward 
  2. ^ Jewish daily Forward: "Picower’s Death Adds to Mystery: Who Else Knew Of Madoff Fraud" By Josh Nathan-Kazis October 28, 2009
  3. ^ Susman, Carolyn 2009-09-25 "Palm Beach Police identify Jeffry M Picower as drowning victim" palmbeachdailynewscom Retrieved October 25, 2009 
  4. ^ "Madoff investor drowns in Florida pool" cnncom October 26, 2009 
  5. ^ "Picower estate returns $72 billion from Madoff scam" Jewish Telegraphic Agency December 17, 2010 Archived from the original on September 26, 2012 
  6. ^ Mordechai Specktor December 22, 2010 "Local foundations sued in Madoff 'clawback'" American Jewish World 
  7. ^ Bernstein, Jake June 28, 2009 "Madoff may not have benefited most in scam Client Jeffry Picower allegedly withdrew $51 billion from accounts" Pro Publica Retrieved December 18, 2010 
  8. ^ Healy, Beth; Casey Ross December 18, 2010 "Picower estate adds $72b to Madoff fund" Boston Globe Retrieved December 18, 2010 
  9. ^ a b Diana B Henriques, "The Wizard of Lies" 2011 p134
  10. ^ a b c Bernstein, Jake June 28, 2009 "Madoff may not have benefited most in scam" MSNBC Retrieved July 2, 2009 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g McMenamin, Brigid October 14, 2002 "Unaccountable" Forbes Retrieved July 2, 2009 
  12. ^ Stevens, William K August 1, 1991 "Noted Scientist And Staff Leave Rockefeller U" New York Times Retrieved July 2, 2009 
  13. ^ Jacoby, Mary December 29, 2001 "Foundations' founder yet to donate $67-million" St Petersburg Times 
  14. ^ Jacoby, Mary July 8, 2001 "Complex web benefits foundation founder" St Petersburg Times 
  15. ^ "Physician Computer Network, Inc" Stanford Law School Securities Class Action Clearinghouse Retrieved July 2, 2009 
  16. ^ a b c d e Fabrikant, Geraldine December 19, 2008 "Foundation That Relied on Madoff Fund Closes" New York Times Retrieved July 2, 2009 
  17. ^ "The 400 Richest Americans 2009" Forbescom September 30, 2009 Retrieved December 18, 2010 
  18. ^ Rooney, Ben September 30, 2009 "Super rich are $300 billion lighter" CNN Money Retrieved September 30, 2009 
  19. ^ https://wwwpropublicaorg/article/picowers-madoff-take-now-estimated-to-Be-72-billion-101
  20. ^ "Jeffry M & Barbara Picower Foundation" BusinessWeek Retrieved July 2, 2009 
  21. ^ a b c Weinraub, Mark December 20, 2008 "Charity Picower says closes from Madoff losses" Reuters Retrieved July 2, 2009 
  22. ^ "The Picower Institute: About" MIT Retrieved July 2, 2009 
  23. ^ Bernstein, Jake "Madoff Client Jeffry Picower Netted $5 Billion—Likely More Than Madoff Himself" Propublica Retrieved 7 February 2016 
  24. ^ Santosh Nadgir and Grant McCool May 13, 2009 "Lawsuit claims Picower profits from Madoff $5 billion" Reuters Retrieved July 2, 2009 
  25. ^ a b Diana B Henriques and Zachery Kouwe May 12, 2009 "Billions Withdrawn Before Madoff Arrest" New York Times Retrieved July 2, 2009 
  26. ^ Henriques, Diana October 1, 2009 "Trustee Cites 2003 Problem in Madoff Account" New York Times 
  27. ^ "Picower, Sued by Madoff Trustee, Died of Heart Attack Update2" bloombergcom 2009-10-26 Retrieved October 27, 2009 
  28. ^ "Death of Jeffry M Picower Ruled Accidental Drowning" Palm Beach Police Department October 26, 2009 Retrieved October 26, 2009 
  29. ^ Janjigian, Robert October 29, 2009 "Jeffry Picower laid to rest at Long Island cemetery" 

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