Wine Auction follows Investor Fraud

It’s almost two years ago that the American former stock broker Bernard Madoff has been jailed for 150 years after pleading guilty with restitution of $170 billion to masterminding the biggest fraud ever seen in America. The founder of Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities was arrested in June 2009 after he ran a hedge fund which allegedly racked up $50bn of fraudulent losses – the largest investor fraud ever committed by an individual.

Instead of paying early investor’s high return with profits made from his investments he used money given to him by later investors. But the Ponzi scheme, like Madoff’s cannot go on forever. The number of new investors that must be found to keep the earlier investors paid off increased exponentially.

The Ponzi scheme defrauded thousands of investors of billions of dollars. His estimated 20,000 victims included hedge funds, executives, banks (HSBC, the Royal Bank of Scotland), foundations (Steven Spielberg’s charity the Wunderkinder Foundation, university endowments, famous (Elie Wiesel), and thousands of ordinary people whose lives were devastated.

Now Bernard Madoff’s wine collection will be auctioned. On 18 May at its Fine Wine Auctions the wine shop Morell & Co will auction up to 58 of Madoff’s wines and spirits. The value of the wines is estimated $15,000 and contains a range of Bordeaux which show his mogul life style. The proceeds from the auction will be deposited in the United States Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Fund to compensate the victims’ of Madoff’s ‘multi-billion dollar fraud’ Morrells catalogue says.

The catalogue includes a case of 1996 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild ($3,200-3,800), six bottle of 1990 Chateau Beychevelle ($350-480), one bottle of 1964 Chateau Cheval Blanc ($500-750) and six bottles of 1997 Antinori Tignanello ($850-1,200).

Even bottles which normally wouldn’t make it into the auction and are more called “conversation pieces” will be sold at the auction due to “the unique artefacts of history”.

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