MIAMI -- Federal authorities seized disgraced financier Bernard Madoff's antique yacht and a smaller boat from two Florida marinas early Wednesday, part of an effort to recoup assets to pay back his swindled investors.
The 55-foot yacht named "Bull" and a 24-foot motor boat were taken from marinas on Florida's east coast, said Barry Golden, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service. The yacht, a 1969 Rybovich, is worth $2.2 million. (SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS)
"A lot of money was put into maintaining this boat," said Golden. "This boat was extremely well kept, extremely clean. Engine compartment was spotless. It looked like somebody took a bottle of 409 and scrubbed it every day."
Madoff, 70, is in jail pending sentencing for pleading guilty to charges he swindled billions from investors in what could be the biggest scam in Wall Street history. He faces a maximum sentence of 150 years behind bars.
Prosecutors are seizing as much as they can of Madoff's personal fortune, and have begun demanding millions of dollars in payments from his relatives. Roughly 6,700 people have filed claims for a share of whatever is recovered. Thousands more _ some who lost in excess of $1 million _ are expected to come forward.
Court documents filed by Madoff's attorneys have indicated Madoff and his wife had up to $826 million in assets at the end of last year _ including the boats and home. Madoff also has an $11 million, five-bedroom mansion in Florida's ritzy Palm Beach Island.
If prosecutors get their way, the Madoff and his wife, who has not been charged, will have to give up all their assets, including a $7 million Manhattan penthouse bought in 1984, the Florida home, a $1 million home in Cap d' Antibe, France and a $3 million luxury home on New York's Long Island. The government also wants Madoff and his wife to forfeit $10 million in furnishings for all the homes and luxury cars, among other items.