(Bloomberg News) A U.S. bankruptcy judge approved a $7.2 billion settlement between the trustee overseeing the dissolution of Bernard L. Madoff's investment advisory firm and the estate of investor Jeffry Picower.

Irving Picard, the trustee liquidating Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, sued Picower in May 2009, claiming he withdrew $7.2 billion more than he invested and should have known Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme. Picower died in October 2009 at age 67.

"This is a great day for the customers, and we're looking to collect as much money as possible," Picard said after the hearing today before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Burton Lifland in Manhattan. Picard said he hopes to recover enough money to pay all of Madoff's victims, including those who withdrew more money from their Madoff accounts than they invested.

Picard and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who is probing the Madoff fraud, on Dec. 17 announced the settlement with Picower's widow, Barbara. The agreement brought the amount collected by authorities over the Madoff fraud to $9.8 billion.

David Sheehan, a lawyer for the trustee, told Lifland that Barbara Picower "stepped up and stepped up big time," agreeing to return "every penny" the Picowers received from Madoff's fraud.

Madoff is serving a 150-year prison term in a federal prison in North Carolina.

The case is Picard v. Picower, 09-1197, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).