With miles of palm-lined beaches, lush gardens, and breezy tropical climates, Palm Beach, Fla., is known for its small-town charm and high quality of life. But in recent months, this normally serene resort community—with a year-round population under 10,000 saturated with the affluent baby boomer set—has been rocked by the Bernie Madoff investment scandal. The disgraced financier, 70, sought many of his investors in this town; several local families reportedly lost more than $100 million each.
In an attempt to recoup losses to compensate cheated investors, U.S. marshals yesterday seized two of Madoff's boats—including a yacht worth $2.2 million—and an unoccupied 8,753-square-foot, five-bedroom mansion in Palm Beach. Authorities changed the locks and took inventory of the property, valued at $9.4 million. The seizure hardly puts a dent in any aid to swindled investors.
Barry Golden, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service, says the estate is no longer considered Madoff's property. Officials are seizing everything they can of Madoff's assets—including homes in New York and France—and are even seeking millions from his relatives.
Madoff is in jail and faces up to 150 years in prison when he is sentenced on June 16.