Proceeds go to ruined investors

Three yachts owned by disgraced financier Bernard Madoff, and another owned by his former chief financial officer, Frank DiPascali, fetched more than US$2m at auction on Tuesday.

The private auction was held by the US Marshals Service in Ft Lauderdale.

All proceeds from the auction went to a fund for investors who were financially ruined by Madoff’s ponzi scheme.

Seventy bidders registered for the event, and many put a US$100,000 deposit to bid for the yachts. Madoff’s 1969 Rybovich sold for US$700,000. His 38ft Shelter Island runabout named “Sitting Bull” went for US$320,000 and his 24ft Maverick center console “Little Bull” fetched US$21,000. DiPascali’s 61ft Viking yacht sold for US$950,000.

Kevin Quirk, a marina manager, told the Associated Press that Madoff’s notoriety was a big reason for the large turnout. “It’s the hottest thing going,” Quirk said.

After the boat auction, a selection of Madoff’s personal items, including automobiles and watches, were auctioned for more than US$1m. Two or three additional auctions are planned, and Madoff’s homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach are still for sale.