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Madoff victims selling memorabilia on eBay

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[January 05, 2009]  NEW YORK (AP) -- Did you get fleeced by Bernard Madoff? Or did you buy that Madoff Securities fleece jacket on eBay?

Madoff, who was arrested last month after allegedly telling investigators he lost as much as $50 billion of investors' money in a giant Ponzi scheme, promoted his firm by putting its name on everything from T-shirts to beach towels, tote bags and umbrellas.

Dozens of the keepsakes are now being sold on eBay.

Some of the sellers say they're former clients and employees. Others, like John Mitchell, hawked a cigar humidor bearing Madoff's name.

"I find these things and then I resell them," Mitchell, of Fox Grove, Ill., said Sunday. He said he bought the humidor from the manufacturer before it ever made it to Madoff's firm.

Mitchell said he also sold Lehman Brothers items after the firm declared bankruptcy in September.

"People are buying that stuff," he said. "It's sad, but it's still humorous."

Other Madoff items for sale on eBay include insulated coolers, binoculars, golf caps and flashlights. Several eBay postings are prodding buyers to "own a piece of history!"

The Madoff name wasn't fetching top dollar on the Internet. Bidding for many items didn't rise above $50.

Eleven bidders were hoping to take home a fleece jacket, size L, on Sunday; the highest bidder had offered $147.59.

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A seller put a Madoff Securities promotional backpack up for sale, writing, "These are the same ones that Bernie used to haul off all the loot!"

Another seller said simply, "A family member used the services of Bernard L. Madoff Securities in New York and was given this beach towel."

Also up for bid was a photocopy of a financial statement Madoff put out for a client, postmarked Dec. 3, a week before his Dec. 11 arrest.

The seller, from Glen Cove, N.Y., said the actual document may be put up for sale later.

[Associated Press; By KAREN MATTHEWS]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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