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Madoff's riches and britches up for grabs

world Updated: Nov 13, 2010 11:03 IST
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Ever wonder what being in Bernard Madoff's shoes must feel like? On Saturday you could find out when the imprisoned Wall Street conman's wardrobe and other personal items go to auction.

Not only his shoes are headed for sale, but socks, pants, monogrammed slippers and other clothing once belonging to the super-fraud, who has been imprisoned for life for running the biggest ever US pyramid fraud scheme.

Proceeds from the huge catalogue, which also reflects Madoff and his wife Ruth's immoderate love of jewelry, will go towards compensating his victims of the swindle.

The US Marshals Service has already sold Madoff's Manhattan penthouse, a Long Island beach getaway, boats and other trophies from the decades during which Madoff bilked clients while posing as one of Wall Street's most trusted brokers.

Among the high-end items going on the block in New York were a hoard of Patek Philippe, Rolex and other luxury watches, as well as piles of Ruth's jewelry.

A platinum ring set with an emerald was estimated to sell at between 50,000 and 62,500 dollars. A platinum and diamond necklace was down to go for between 75,000 and 100,000 dollars.

But unlike the last auction of the Madoffs' lavish collections, this sale stood out for the kind of items proving that billionaires and record-breaking crooks are just like ordinary folk.

Bed sheets, make-up brushes, a vacuum cleaner, Rod Stewart CDs, cotton napkins, cook books, a flat screen TV, and Jewish religious items like Hanukkah candles were all looking for new homes.

One curious insight into Madoff's money obsession was the fraudster's own collection of pre-euro banknotes from European countries. The francs, marks, drachma and other defunct currencies were estimated to sell at 490 to 570 dollars.

Another lot included a range of trays and serving dishes from London's Piccadilly Hotel and other establishments, though it was unclear how they came to be in Madoff's possession.

Madoff ran a complex pyramid or Ponzi scheme for years in which he used new investors' capital to pay fake profits to existing investors. He was imprisoned last year after pleading guilty.