On January 13, 2011, US Bankruptcy Judge Burton Lifland approved a historic settlement with the estate of Jeffry Picower, a friend of, and investor connected to, fraudulent financier Bernard Madoff. Picower's widow agreed to return an unprecedented $7.2 billion to victims of Madoff's infamous Ponzi scheme. Irving Picard was judicially appointed as a trustee to recover money on behalf of Madoff's victims in December 2010. The settlement was initially reached in December 2010 after Picard filed suit against Picower's estate. As of December 2011, Picard had recovered almost 60 percent of the $17 billion investors lost in Madoff's scam. Of those recoveries, the $7.2 billion from Picower's estate remains the largest as of January 2012.