Preparations for Madoff Auction UnderwayJul 27, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
As part of the ongoing Bernard Madoff financial scandal, federal marshals are inventorying possessions from Ruth and Bernard Madoff’s $7.5 million Manhattan penthouse and $3.5 million Montauk home in anticipation of an auction. Newsday reports that the contents at both well-appointed properties are being listed in detail, citing officials.
According to Newsday, contents include a Steinway piano and silverware and that the properties and tens of millions of dollars in assets were turned over to the government when Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison last month. Madoff was sentenced for running a Ponzi scheme estimated to have cost investors as much as $65 billion.
"The U.S. Marshals Service of the Southern District of New York and the asset forfeiture division are conducting an itemization and appraisal of all personal property at the Madoff residence at 64th Street … that also holds true for Montauk," a spokesman for the marshals said, quoted Newsday. Judge Denny Chin signed the forfeiture order that gave the U.S. government full control over the two Madoff properties and related contents, including “clothing, fixtures, artwork, linens, and sheets”; a $10-million Palm Beach house was surrendered previously in 2009, reported Newsday and Madoff’s yacht and other boats are slated to be sold. Lawyers in France have said that a yacht there is under the control of the French courts, added Newsday. Ruth Madoff was previously removed from the New York penthouse by marshals.
The order was made in an effort to assist officials in the return of funds to the scores of victims of Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme, said Newsday.
Speaking through her attorney immediately following Bernard’s sentencing, Ruth Madoff said, in part, that, “Lives have been upended and futures have been taken away. All those touched by this fraud feel betrayed; disbelieving the nightmare they woke to. I am embarrassed and ashamed. Like everyone else, I feel betrayed and confused. The man who committed this horrible fraud is not the man whom I have known for all these years,” quoted the LA Times.
Although Bernard was initially stripped of $171 billion and all of his personal property, as well as $80 million in assets Ruth claims were hers, the wife of the mastermind of what is believed to be the largest such scam in history still walked away with $2.5 million, likely more than many of Madoff’s duped investors.
Most recently, Madoff’s accountant for nearly two decades—David Friehling—was charged with securities fraud, reported USA Today, citing a federal prosecutor. The charges included aiding and abetting investment adviser fraud and four counts of filing false audit reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission SEC, the New York’s southern district acting U.S. attorney, Lev Dassin said, according to USA Today.
The SEC has come under fire for apparently missing warnings that something was amiss with Madoff’s investment advisory business and has been shamed for its inability to detect Madoff’s fraud and its role in the well-publicized investment bank collapse, which has been blamed—in part—for the current financial downturn, said the Washington Post previously.