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Proposals sought from brokers for sale of Madoff homes

Federal officials say Bernard Madoff's house in Montauk,

Federal officials say Bernard Madoff's house in Montauk, along with the family's two other multimillion dollar properties, will be up for sale by next month. (Aug. 6, 2009) Credit: Newsday Photo / Dave Marcus

Get ready for the Great Madoff Land Rush of 2009.

Real estate brokers from Long Island, Manhattan and Palm Beach were invited Friday by the U.S. Marshals Service to submit proposals for the sale of Bernard and Ruth Madoff's three spacious homes.

Officials hope to select a broker for the Montauk home at 216 Old Montauk Hwy. by Aug. 27. Realtors for the Manhattan penthouse at 133 E. 64th St., and the Palm Beach estate at 410 N. Lake Way, should be selected shortly after, said a spokesman for the Marshals Service.

The government hopes to have all three properties on the market by Sept. 14, said Barry Golden, a spokesman for the Marshals Service in Florida. The homes, along with furniture and personal property, were forfeited to the government after Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison for running the biggest Ponzi scheme in Wall Street history.

According to Roland Ubaldo, the New York spokesman for the Marshals Service, the homes will be sold without the furniture, which will be bundled up and sold along with Madoff personal property at a separate auction.

Because the government wants to get as much money as possible for investors, brokers will be evaluated on how much they are willing to lower their usual commission rates.

Marshals have been working at the homes to make sure they stay in good condition and to inventory the Madoff personal items, Golden explained.

Golden said the government is interested in brokers who are experienced in selling high-priced property and know the particular markets.

Officials estimate that the three Madoff homes are now worth a total of $20 million.

But as much money as the government may get for the homes and the personal Madoff effects, it will amount to a fraction toward the goal of compensating the fraud victims. Estimated losses in the fraud range from $13 billion to $21 billion. So far special trustee Irving Picard has located $1.5 billion and has sued to recover $10 billion from hedge funds.

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