"I do feel badly a man died," Ronnie Sue Ambrosino, who saw her life savings disappear when Bernard Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme was exposed, tells The Palm Beach Post. "But it's another clue we'll never have."
The deceased is Jeffry Picower, who as the Associated Press says was "accused of making more than $7 billion" from Madoff's investment schemes.
Picower, 67, was found yesterday on the bottom of the pool at his oceanside mansion in West Palm Beach, Fla. Today, the chief medical examiner for Palm Beach County said Picower suffered a heart attack and drowned.
The Post writes that Picower and his wife Barbara:
According to attorneys investigating Madoff's phony financial empire, were part of the scheme for more than 20 years. They and their daughter, Gabrielle, made more than $5 billion in fictitious profits, according to a complaint that was filed as part of federal efforts to recover money for the victims of Madoff's scheme.
Picower's attorney maintains his client was one of Madoff's victims, not an accomplice.
Update at 2:55 p.m. ET. NPR's Greg Allen filed this report from Miami:
Madoff Associate's Death Ruled Accidental; Victims Fear Loss Of Evidence