SOLD: Madoff's Montauk House Bought by Mystery Millionaire

Was listed at $8.75 million

By Jonathan Dienst and Hasani Gittens
|  Monday, Sep 21, 2009  |  Updated 10:27 AM CDT
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A tour of <a title=Bernie Madoff's beach property going up for sale" />

A tour of Bernie Madoff's beach property going up for sale

Bernard Madoff's Long Island beach house has a new owner.

For now, the presumed millionaire who bought the ocean view Montauk home of the former financier remains a mystery.

The buyer signed a contract to purchase the four-bedroom, three bath house late Wednesday night, sources said.

Listed at $8.75 million, the seaside home was among the real estate and property seized by U.S. Marshals and put on sale in an ongoing effort to reimburse the thousands victimized in Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme.

The 3,014-square-foot Montauk home features sweeping ocean views, a columned porch, a stone fireplace, a swimming pool and rests on 1.2 acres at the bottom of richly landscaped driveway off Old Montauk Highway.

Earlier today, it was discovered that thieves had made off with some of Madoff's art collection -- including a coyote statue from the garden.

The feds also plan to enlist brokers soon to find buyers for a Manhattan apartment and a Palm Beach, Fla., estate once owned by the financier-turned-felon.

In estimates federal regulators filed last year, Madoff himself valued his Manhattan apartment at $7 million and the Florida property at $11 million. He said the Montauk beach house, which he bought in 1979, was worth $3 million.

Madoff, 71, is now serving his 150-year prison sentence as the investigation continues into other possible accomplices in his decades-long swindle.

Thousands of investors with Madoff's once-respected advisory firm believed their securities accounts were worth tens of billions of dollars. But investigators say the totals on the clients' monthly account statements were fiction. In reality, Madoff never made investments and instead siphoned new investors' money to pay returns to existing ones — and to fuel a life of luxury.

Madoff's punishment included a forfeiture order that stripped him and his wife, Ruth, of nearly all their wealth. The order gave the marshals authority to seize and sell the homes.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Roland Ubaldo said furniture and any other personal belongings found inside will be sold at auction, "from pieces of art to Ruth Madoff's shoes."

The four-bedroom, three-bath beach house — which Ubaldo described as "simple, stylish and understated" — is at the bottom of a steep, lushly landscaped driveway off Old Montauk Highway.

The second-floor entrance leads to a small master bedroom with a private terrace. A staircase descends to a living room with vaulted ceilings, exposed beams and a stone fireplace. A tired set of leather couches, kitchen appliances and bathroom fixtures appear to date to the 1980s.

Several sets of glass doors open onto the porch. A small swimming pool that also overlooks the Atlantic Ocean is to the left. A private path on the right winds to the beach through pine trees, rose bushes and dune grass.

The Madoffs' interior decorating taste leaned toward nautical-meets-folk art. Still on view are American Indian rugs and pottery. A sculpture of howling wolves stands outside the front door; just inside is a large wooden goat. There's a set of antique duck decoys on a hallway table and fishing poles tucked in one corner.

The poles, along with golf clubs, an old exercise bike, outdoor wicker chairs and virtually everything else in the house have tags with identification numbers — evidence of a painstaking inventory and appraisal for auction.

Other personal items have been boxed up and marked with labels identifying their contents, including: "17 beach towels," ''Women's shoes and accessories," and "Men's casual shoes and raincoats."

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