MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – The remaining possessions of multi-billion dollar Ponzi scam artist Bernard Madoff and his wife Ruth hit the auction block, and Saturday was the last day to bid on the items.
The two-day auction, which began Friday at 10 a.m., is staged at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The auction, on day-two, featured the last remaining personal property belonging to the Madoffs, 275 lots from their residences in New York and Palm Beach, are up for sale.
Friday’s items consisted of 345 lots of fine jewelry, watches, coins and currency that were seized and forfeited from criminal cases throughout the country.
“Yesterday was very successful,” John O’Malley, senior inspector with US Marshall Service, told CBS4’s Shaneeva Yassin. “We sold over $2.6 million in the jewelry auction. Right now, (as of 1:15 p.m. Saturday), we are at $168,000 and we still have several more hours to go.”
All the Madoff’s items were up on the auction block Saturday, and O’Malley said there were many big pieces on the table.
“One of our strongest pieces in auction is the oil on canvas painting by artist John Wootton,” he said. “Its estimated value is $140,000 to $169,000 and it hasn’t come up yet.”
Already purchased was one of Madoff’s watches, which was sold for $31,000.
“So far that’s the highest price items sold,” O’Malley said. “It’s his vintage Rolex watch.”
The majority of the items at the Miami Beach auction are from Madoff’s Palm Beach mansion, but some items are from his New York residence, O’Malley said.
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.
“It’s been an enormous case,” said U.S. Marshal Jennifer Crane. “It’s 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 only had one chance to view their potential purchases. On Thursday, items were previewed from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Friday’s and Saturday’s auctions were simulcasted 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.
Friday’s auction purchases were mostly from online bidders, a trend that may follow through by the end of Saturday.
“Yesterday, 60 percent of the stuff was bought online,” O’Malley said. “This could be worldwide, not just Miami Beach. There’s interest all over the county. That would be an indicator of today.”
“Whether you like it or not this is a piece of history,” said U.S. Marshal Roland Ubaldo.
O’Malley is confident that all of the items will be sold by the end of Saturday, but if not, the items will move on to another auction.
“I would think everything will go,” O’Malley said. “It will be sold at another auction. We’re going to keep it and save it for another auction. We’d expect almost everything, if not everything, to sell.”