The settlement caps a dramatic couple of weeks in the case. Last weekend, on the two-year anniversary of the discovery of the fraud, Madoff's older son, Mark Madoff, committed suicide in his Manhattan apartment. Only days before Picard had sued both of Madoff's sons and their wives and children.
The two-year anniversary was the deadline for Picard to file claims, and he came in just under the wire with a number of gargantuan suits against Madoff's family and friends as well as against banks he said had aided Madoff's crime or did not do enough to investigate it.
The biggest suit by far asks for $19.6 billion from the owners of an Austrian bank, Bank Medici, and its founder, Sonja Kohn, whom Picard's filing referred to as Madoff's "criminal soul mate."
Picard said Kohn had drawn investors in by advertising her close relationship with Madoff and her operation withdrew hundreds of millions of dollars shortly before the fraud became public.
Lawyers for Kohn and Bank Medici have denied any wrongdoing.
Picard also recently sued JPMorgan Chase & Co., Madoff's primary U.S. bank, asking for $6.4 billion. Picard's lead counsel, David Sheehan, said the bank was "thoroughly complicit" in Madoff's fraud and that "Madoff would not have been able to commit this massive Ponzi scheme without this bank."
After the complaint was filed under seal at JPMorgan's request, the bank issued a statement saying "any suggestion that JPMorgan supported Madoff's fraud is utterly baseless and demonstrably false."
One of Madoff's investors who won't benefit from Friday's settlement is Peter Moskowitz, a retired dentist in Corona whose last statement from Madoff said he had $1.15 million in his account. Moskowitz, 67, said he had made withdrawals over the years that exceeded his initial investment, making him ineligible for a recovery.
"I not only won't get anything," Moskowitz said, "I also may be liable to give back what I took out."
Moskowitz said he had considered the money his retirement account. Since it disappeared, he's been living off Social Security and disability benefits.
"I'm very lucky, compared to most," he said. "Many people lost their homes. Some people lost their lives due to the stress."