NEW YORK (AFP) - Two years after the implosion of the largest Ponzi scheme in US history the trustee in charge of Bernard Madoff's estate is looking to claw back 50 billion dollars for defrauded investors. Court-appointed trustee Irving Picard won his greatest victory yet on Friday when the estate of an investor who made a fortune off the fraud agreed to surrender 7.2 billion dollars, quadrupling the size of the trustee's fund. Federal prosecutors called the settlement "the largest forfeiture recovery in US history" and said the money would be distributed to victims of the 72-year-old jailed fraudster in the coming year. "The importance of this settlement cannot be overstated, as it shows significant progress in our efforts to assemble the largest customer fund possible," Picard said in a statement. But most of those cheated by the scheme will have to wait much longer, as a flurry of recovery suits filed earlier this month makes its way through the courts. Madoff, now serving a 150-year prison sentence, was arrested in December 2008 and pleaded guilty in a Manhattan federal court to running a Ponzi scheme that Picard estimates lost some 20 billion dollars in invested principal. The total fraud, once the lost potential interest on the funds is calculated in, has been estimated at 50 billion dollars, and suits have poured in from more than 16,000 investors from around the world who claim to have been defrauded by Madoff. The victims ranged from major banks, savvy financial players and Hollywood moguls to charities and individual investors. Prior to the haul announced Friday, Picard had recouped some 2.5 billion dollars, partly through the confiscation of Madoff family properties and auctions of his belongings -- including a watch that sold for 67,500 dollars -- that offered a glimpse at the life of luxury he once enjoyed. On December 10 Picard filed his largest suit yet, seeking nearly 20 billion dollars from a conglomerate led by Austrian banker Sonja Kohn, 62, whom Picard said was Madoff's "criminal soul mate." Kohn's lawyers denied the allegations, insisting she was herself a victim of Madoff and rejecting Picard's claims that she fed Madoff's scheme with new investors in exchange for 62 million dollars in kickbacks. Picard has meanwhile sought nine billion dollars from the British bank HSBC, 6.4 billion from JP Morgan, 2.5 billion from the Swiss UBS, 400 million from Natixis and others, all accused of profiting from the Ponzi scheme. He is also seeking hundreds of millions of dollars from individual investors, feeding funds that invested with Madoff, and even charities who benefited from fraudulent revenues or donations. The legal battle looks to continue for several years, however, and it will be difficult for many investors, especially those living outside the United States, to recover their losses, much of which were invested indirectly. In Luxembourg, for example, thousands of investors together lost some two billion dollars that was invested in three funds linked to Madoff. Madoff's long-running Ponzi scheme -- in which he promised huge returns to investors and then paid them fake profits with the capital culled from new clients, collapsed when the 2008 financial crisis put his back against the wall. His family, which spent decades living in luxury as a result of his vast theft, was struck by tragedy this month when one of his two sons committed suicide. Mark Madoff, 46, hanged himself in his Manhattan apartment on the second anniversary of his father's arrest. Although no criminal charges had been filed against Mark Madoff, he and other family members were being sued in a civil action by the trustee for having benefited from the fraud, regardless of whether they knew about it.