Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison today for carrying out a $65 billion fraud. But as ProPublica’s Jake Bernstein reported last week, Madoff client Jeffry Picower likely reaped more from the scheme than Madoff himself did.
Between 1995 and 2008, Picower and his family withdrew $5.1 billion more from their Madoff accounts than they originally invested. Irving Picard, the trustee in charge of liquidating Madoff’s firm, has filed a lawsuit (PDF) against Picower and his wife to try to recover those funds and turn them over to victims of Madoff’s scheme. The complaint (PDF) says the Picowers "knew or should have known" that they were profiting from a fraud.
Between 1996 and 2007, a group of Picower trading accounts saw annual returns of more than 100 percent – when the biggest annual gain in the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 31 percent. In 1999, one account earned 950 percent.