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Madoff associate Picower found dead

MIAMI, Oct 25 – Florida investor and philanthropist Jeffry Picower, a Bernard Madoff associate accused of making billions of dollars in the Madoff investment scandal, was found dead on Sunday in his Palm Beach swimming pool, police said.

The wife of Picower, 67, discovered her husband at the bottom of the pool and called police.

"As standard operating procedure in any drowning, the Palm Beach Police Department is conducting an investigation into Mr. Picower\’s death," the department said in a statement.

The court-appointed trustee tracking down Madoff\’s missing billions has sued Picower to recoup part of the 6.7 billion dollars Picower and his associates were said to have withdrawn from the scheme orchestrated by Madoff, whom court papers said was a friend of Picower for more than 20 years.

"The trustee’s investigation to date has revealed that at least five billion dollars of this amount was fictitious profit from the Ponzi scheme," according to the court papers filed in May.

Picower and his wife were founders and directors of the Jeffry M. & Barbara Picower Foundation, which reportedly donated millions of dollars to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the New York Public Library.

The foundation was forced to close its doors earlier this year following severe losses from the scheme.

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