June 25, 2010 / 3:05 AM / 9 years ago

Madoff aide's arcade games, off-road vehicles up for auction

MORRIS PLAINS, New Jersey (Reuters) - A home theater set with seven leather reclining chairs and a red popcorn machine owned by a top aide to con man Bernard Madoff are among the items to be sold at an auction on Friday.

The U.S. Marshals Service is selling belongings confiscated from Frank DiPascali, 53, the former chief financial officer of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities.

But buyers seeking high-class luxury goods may be disappointed at what is on offer at the auction, being held at a training academy for police and firefighters. Items range from a Yamaha off-road motorcycle and two all-terrain vehicles to arcade games and a “Lord of the Rings” themed pinball machine.

“For someone who stole millions, this stuff isn’t all that nice,” said Francis Williams, 57, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, who attended a preview of the items.

Another potential buyer, Thomas Reynolds, was equally unimpressed.

“Most of these things are pretty gaudy. Just look at these,” he said, gesturing at a set of bulky upholstered armchairs.

But Reynolds spotted some things he planned to buy. “The arcade games are great,” he said.

After his arrest, DiPascali admitted to helping deceive thousands of investors and subsequently pleaded guilty to criminal charges of fraud, conspiracy and money-laundering.

He was forced to forfeit $6.1 million. On Monday, he was released from federal custody on condition on bail and awaits sentencing.

The proceeds of Friday’s auction will go to the Department of Justice Fund for the victims of Madoff, who turned his wealth management firm into one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in history, defrauding investors of billions of dollars. Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence.

One of DiPascali’s high-end possessions, a 61-foot yacht, was sold at an auction in Florida for $950,000 last November.

Editing by Mark Egan and Cynthia Osterman

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