MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – From an Audemars Piquet watch with the diamond dial to an English rosewood apothecary made by Morhs and Co., London, the remaining possessions of multi-billion dollar Ponzi scam artist Bernard Madoff and his wife Ruth have hit the auction block.
The two-day auction, which began Friday at 10 a.m., is staged at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The first day will consist of 345 lots of fine jewelry, watches, coins and currency that were seized and forfeited from criminal cases throughout the country. On day two, the last remaining personal property belonging to Madoffs, 275 lots from their residences in New York and Palm Beach, will be sold.
“Its been an enormous case,” said U.S. Marshal Jennifer Crane. “Its been the largest case we’ve ever worked in asset forfeiture.
Crane dug deep into Madoff’s life, literally digging through his drawers.
“His underwear was monogrammed. He stamped everything he owned. You knew it was his. Shoes. 400 pairs of shoes, same color.” she said.
Interested bidders will only have one chance to view their potential purchases. On Thursday, items were previewed from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The items will not be on display at the auction itself.
Both auctions will also be simulcast online at www.txauction.com.
Interest bidders were expected to make a $500 cash deposit, those who plan to bid online must have made a $1,000 deposit; registration for online bidding closed at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Proceeds will be deposited into the U.S. Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture fund and used to compensate victims of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. To date, approximately $23 million in property sales and $80 million in cash assets from the Madoffs have been recovered.
In March 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal felonies; he was sentenced in June to 150 years in prison.
“Whether you like it or not this is a piece of history,” said U.S. Marshal Roland Ubaldo.