A new four-part Netflix series, Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street, chronicles the rise and fall of the late Bernie Madoff, who went to jail in 2008 for running an illegal Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of billions.
Under the scheme, Madoff never invested his clients’ money as he was supposed to. Instead, he used the money given to him by new investors for payouts to existing investors. Madoff wasn’t the only who that benefited from the scam. Jeffry and Barbara Picower, friends and investors with Madoff, are said to be the largest beneficiaries of the Ponzi scheme.
The Picowers reportedly withdrew $5.1 billion more than they invested from Madoff accounts. Jeffry died in 2009, and a year later, Barbara agreed to pay back $7.2 billion of the money they made in the scam.
Barbara Picower’s net worth is still in the millions.
Barbara may have repaid billions to Madoff victims, but that doesn’t mean she has been left without money. Barbara’s net worth is still in the millions, if not billions. After Jeffry died, he left Barbara $200 million, Reuters reported in 2009.
She also may have had some money left over from the billions she and her husband made with Madoff after she paid the $7.2 billion settlement. Forbes reported in 2014 that tax records for the JPB Foundation, which Barbara founded in 2011, showed that $1.2 billion in contributions came from the Jeffry Picower estate.
Barbara Picower runs one of the largest foundations in the U.S.
Barbara is the President and Board Chair of the JPB Foundation. The charitable organization aims to empower people living in poverty, enrich and sustain the environment, and enable pioneering medical research.
According to InfluenceWatch, in 2020, the JPB Foundation held over $3 billion in assets. It's one of the largest grant-making foundations in the country.
Barbara had previously been in charge of The Picower Foundation, which she and her husband founded in 1989. Madoff, a longtime friend of the Picowers, managed their foundation’s assets. The Picower Foundation was forced to close in 2009 after the Madoff scandal broke out.
At first, the Picowers were considered among the many victims swindled in Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. But, then a lawsuit filed on behalf of Madoff victims asserted that Jeffry “knew or should have known” about the fraud, The New York Times reported in 2009.
Barbara Picower was at the pool when her husband drowned.
In 2009, Jeffrey was found dead in the swimming pool at his Palm Beach, Fla., mansion. Barbara was reading by the pool when her husband drowned, Forbes reported. The medical examiner determined Jeffry’s death was an accidental drowning that happened after he suffered a heart attack. He reportedly had Parkinson’s disease and heart problems.
At the time of his death, Jeffry was one of the wealthiest men in America, with a net worth of as much as $7 billion, Forbes reports.