Is Madoff auction in Aspen a scam?
ASPEN – The Bernie Madoff auction tour is scheduled to stop in Aspen Wednesday, with a cloud of skepticism and unfavorable press reports hovering over it.
Newspaper ads, both locally and statewide, have touted the auction, scheduled for 1 p.m. at the St. Regis Aspen resort, as a clearance sale of original art by such artists at Peter Max and Norman Rockwell, along with “other flashy” items.
The ads say the auction is being held “due to the losses caused by Bernie Madoff,” the Wall Street financier convicted of orchestrating a $65 billion Ponzi scheme. He’s currently serving a 150-year prison term. A footnote at the bottom of the ads say the auction inventory is being sold by victims of Madoff.
One woman, who contacted The Aspen Times on Tuesday, said she attended a so-called Madoff auction last year on the East Coast. She claims she was ripped off, and has worked closely with the FBI, which is investigating.
“I bought a bunch of stuff that turned out to be really nice quality posters that were being passed off as signed lithographs,” she said.
The legitimacy of the Madoff auctions, which apparently have been taking place across the United States, has been under investigation by the U.S. Marshals Service, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday. State agencies in both New York and Connecticut also have launched probes into the Madoff auctions, according to published reports.
A Madoff auction was held Sunday in the Bay Area, and New Year’s Eve day at the Hilton Oceanfront Resort in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Many of the auctions provide little or no inventory that has a connection to either Madoff or his victims, Time magazine and other media outlets reported.
The company that is hosting the auction did not answer telephone calls made to its number displayed in an Aspen Times advertisement. An e-mail to the auctioneer also was not returned.
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