Turns out, running one of the largest Ponzi schemes to date gives you a lot of extra money to throw around. And what to do with all that money you swindled away from others? Buy things. Lots and lots of things. A small fleet? Check. Three homes? Yes, please. How about a rhinestone-studded "grill" mouthpiece and a 14-karat, diamond-studded pendant that reads "4 Life or Death"? Oh, why not? I've got the money. These and other assets owned by Bernie Madoff were rounded up by the Marshals Service to be sold and auctioned off. The proceeds are set to go to the victims of Madoff's $65 billion scheme.
To that end, all three of his homes (a New York City penthouse, a Montauk, N.Y., beach house and a Palm Beach, Fla. mansion) were put on the market in 2009. The beach house was snapped up quickly for $9.41 million (the listing price was $8.75 million). The 4,000-sq.-ft. (371 sq m) Upper East Side apartment sold February 2010 for an undisclosed amount. The original asking price, however, was $9.9 million (later reduced to $8.9 million). The palm treelined Palm Beach mansion is still on the market. It was originally listed at $8.5 million, but has since been reduced to $7.25 million.
Madoff's yachts met a similar fate. Bull, whose life preserver labeled "bullship" fetched $7,500 at an auction, Sitting Bull and Little Bull were each auctioned off in November 2009. The largest, Bull, a 55-ft. 1969 restored Rybovich Sportfish fishing boat, sold for $700,000.
Additional items seized from his residences are expected to be scheduled for auction this year. The first sale of 200 items, which included artwork, some of Ruth's jewelry and Bernie's Rolex collection, brought in nearly $1 million almost double the original estimate.
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