Madoff mansion and yacht seized by US authorities

02-04-2009

Madoff mansion and yacht seized by US authorities
The multi-million dollar mansion of Bernard Madoff has been seized by US authorities in an attempt to repay the thousands of people who lost their savings in Wall Street's biggest fraud.

The property in Palm Beach, Florida, is worth an estimated $11 million (£7.6 million) and a $2 million (£1.3 million) yacht and smaller motor boat were also seized by five US marshals yesterday afternoon.

Madoff pleaded guilty at a New York court last month to running a huge pyramid or Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of an estimated $50 billion (£32 million).

He faces life in prison after many of his victims lost their entire life's savings in the biggest fraud in history.

The 8,750 sq ft home on North Lake Way was purchased by Madoff's wife, Ruth, 15 years ago for around $3.8 million (£2.6 million). The 55ft yacht "Bull" and 24ft motor boat were seized from two marinas off the Florida coast.

US Marshal Barry Golden said: ""A lot of money was put into maintaining this boat. This boat was extremely well kept, extremely clean. Engine compartment was spotless. It looked like somebody scrubbed it every day.

"We are seizing the property as we speak."

Almost 7,000 people who invested in Madoff's fraudulent scheme have made claims in an attempt to get a share of the former Nasdaq chairman's personal fortune, and thousands more are expected to follow suit. It is thought he and his wife are worth $826 million (£529 million).

Other properties which could be seized include a $3 million (£2 million) house on Long Island and a $7 million (£4.8 million) Manhattan apartment.

Connecticut judges have now frozen the assets of Madoff's sons and five high-flying hedge fund officials, as investigators suspect a fraud of this size could not have been carried out by Madoff alone.

A civil law suit has also been filed against a feeder company in Massachusetts that allegedly lied to their clients about the checks they were making on Madoff's business.

Fairfield Greenwich Group was one of many feeder funds which helped direct investors' money to Madoff.

Secretary of state for Massachusetts William Galvin has accused the company of displaying a "profound disparity" between the checks they told investors were being made on Madoff's fund and those the company actually carried out.

Fairfield Greenwich has strongly denied the claim.

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