When Jenny Crane walked into the kitchen of this $8 million New York penthouse, a small blue note caught her eye.
Here’s a message from Bernie’s wife, Ruth Madoff.
“I definitely want to keep my Nespresso,” he said.
Bernard Madoff orchestrated the biggest investment fraud in American history, earning himself millions while his wife begged for a coffee machine.
The financier’s complex web weaved over four decades, trapping as many as 40,000 people in 136 countries – celebrities, sports stars, film directors, Holocaust survivors, Nobel Peace Prize winners, and Thousands of ordinary people who have lost their pensions and are living in distress, college funds, savings, medical bills money; in short, their nest egg.
Madoff, who died last year, was jailed for 150 years, and while that brought some justice to his victims, it didn’t help them deal with the catastrophic financial damage.
Join Jenny and the DOJ Asset Forfeiture Managers Working Group.
It is part of a U.S. federal government team and Marshals Service designed to recover assets used as part of a crime or purchased with the proceeds of crime, sell them, and return the money earned to victims.
Before 1984, if you were in jail for racketeering, money laundering or common theft, you had to go home after serving your sentence — back to your penthouse and Mercedes, all cash still in the bank.
But the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 changed all that.
If you’re a kingpin, watch your back
As Jenny told the US Marshals True Crime Podcast: “If you have ill-gotten gains from illegal activity, the government can now seek confiscation, which means taking those items and selling them…to help compensate the victims.
“Since 1984, ‘confiscation’ has been part of judicial terminology. Now we can take all the good stuff that drug dealers and money launderers have.
“So, if you’re the ringleader and the DA is looking for you, if you buy a fleet of high-end cars with the money you make from selling drugs, then we’ll take those cars. Or if you’re driving these cars to facilitate the sale of all Drugs, we’re using these cars too.
“If you use your money and you buy a car, a house, you have an annuity, you have a stock bond, you have a horse, you have a camel, we have the ability to seize (i.e. hold) until a tenancy court case.
“Once confiscated, all property rights and interests pass to the U.S. government – we can sell them.”
and sell them.
A team of nearly 30 people spent days sorting, packing and removing every item at Madoff’s penthouse in Manhattan — just one of three homes the couple owns.
From jewelry and furniture to That Nespresso, socks and panties were removed and listed for sale.
And the Madoff auction is an auction that ends all auctions.
It sparked a frenzy of wanting to have a criminal history.
Thousands of buyers lined up outside an auction in New York. Journalists from all over the world came.
Lot 380 is: “Several pairs of men’s socks, used, 1 pair of Prada tights, 11 pairs of men’s designer boxer shorts”. (“Those are new, not used,” Jenny said).
Bidding starts at $955. The lot sold for $1,700.
“So much conspicuous consumption”
In the apartment, socks are stored in a luxurious built-in closet with cedar-lined drawers. All are printed with monograms.
“There are a few more pairs,” Jenny said, “all in the original box, the same size, and all monogrammed in various colors.
“There’s so much conspicuous consumption.”
Bob Sheehan of Gaston and Sheehan Auctioneers, who is in charge of sales, said: “There must be more than 200 pairs of shoes, all from the same brand – Belgian shoes.
“On the wall next to the closet, um [Madoff] There’s actually a schematic to show what color shoes are on what rack, when and where. “
The couple’s clothes have also been replicated in three of their homes.
Jenny: “That way they don’t need to pack. Every family has a lot of shoes, a lot of socks, a lot of underwear.
“No one needs 100 pairs of socks that remind you of your initials!”
One is a leather bull footstool. Item description reads: “The tail needs to be reattached.”
It won at $3,300.
A Steinway piano that started at $7,000 sold for $42,000.
Bob said: “I talked to the buyer after the sale. He said he always wanted a Steinway and thought ‘Okay, if I want a Steinway and I’m in Bernie Madoff had a Steinway in the house, so much the better’.”
Wall Street financial firms are also interested.
A person buys a stock that has no intrinsic value at all – just an 8×11 inch piece of paper with Bernie Madoff’s name on it.
It sells for over $1,000.
Lot 292, “Wooden Duck Bait, Maroon Head, Glass Eyes, Black Body,” sold for $4,750.
A pair of black embroidered slippers — with the monogram, of course — sells for $6,000.
A Mets jacket with Madoff’s name on it sells for $14,000. The Mets were also victims of his crimes.
On December 11, 2008, Madoff was arrested by the FBI. On March 12, 2009, he pleaded guilty to 11 federal crimes and pleaded guilty to running the largest private Ponzi scheme in history.
“Beasts and Monsters”
The trial was covered by the world media, and in the ruthless spotlight, even Madoff’s family fell victim: Under the pressure of it all, his son committed suicide. His brother lost most of his fortune. There are no winners.
He was dubbed a “beast” and a “monster” by his trusted investors.
“These investors aren’t just your big money guys, they’re your grandmothers and grandfathers who retired to Florida,” Jenny said.
Roland Yubaldo, a senior inspector for the Organised Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force, told the podcast: “He has destroyed so many lives, financially and emotionally – not just for this generation, but for the future. many people.”
That’s why, he said, asset forfeiture is such an important weapon in law enforcement arsenals.
“The use of asset forfeiture disrupts and dismantles illicit businesses. It deprives criminals of the proceeds of their illicit activities, deters crime, and returns property to victims,” he said.
Chris Godsick, host of the U.S. Marshals True Crime Podcast, described the Justice Asset Forfeiture Managers Task Force as an “extraordinary program,” adding, “It’s really doing things in ways they don’t usually understand. Victims seek justice”.
Jenny is even better.
“This is the best law enforcement success story,” she said.
- Chris Godsick, creator of the US Marshals True Crime Podcast, has gained exclusive behind-the-scenes access to many lesser-known areas of the work of these law enforcement officers. The extraordinary stories he finds are told through all the major podcast providers.