Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Madoff Auctions

Bernard Madoff’s victims got back a portion of their losses as the trustee unwinding his fraud began sending out a total of $1.2 billion in recovered funds, with checks averaging $1.1 million each.

It came three years after the anniversary of Madoff’s Dec. 11, 2008 arrest, when thousands of retirees, charities, investment funds and other clients discovered they’d lost over $17.5 billion in principal to his decades-long Ponzi scheme. The distribution boosted victim's recoveries to $9.16 billion, or about 57 percent of the total losses, trustee Irving Picard said in a statement.
In late 2010, two years after he was first arrested for an $ 18 billion Ponzi scheme, Madoff possessions hit the auction market.

Thousands of belongings from his New York City penthouse, including his used shoes, went on the auction block.
An anonymous bidder paid $550,000 for a 10.5-carat diamond engagement ring that belonged to Madoff's wife, Ruth.

Ruth Madoff's French diamond earrings fetched the next highest price. They went for $135,000.
The man who became a symbol of greed and deceit on Wall Street had a lavish collection of watches. One of his vintage steel Rolex "Moon Phase" watches sold for $67,500. The watch was part of Madoff's 40-plus watch collection that also included 16 other Rolexes.

U.S. marshals seized everything in the Madoffs' Manhattan apartment and Long Island beach house: worn socks, new monogrammed boxer shorts, even the used Italian velveteen slippers bearing the initials "BLM" in gold embroidery.
Madoff's mini fleet of boats were auction stars. A restored 55-foot Rybovich yacht named Bull fetched $700,000. Madoff's former 38-foot Shelter Island sport runabout, named Sitting Bull, went for $320,000. And the 24-foot Maverick center console he dubbed Little Bull got a winning bid of $21,000.

A black 1999 Mercedes-Benz CLK 320 convertible that belonged to Madoff's wife, Ruth, went for $30,000.
Madoff's 4,000-square-foot duplex Manhattan penthouse sold for $8m, and a 8,750-square-foot home in Palm Beach $7.4m. Madoff's Montauk beach home sold for $9.4m
Morrell Wine Auctions auctioned off 262 bottles of wine and liquor that had been seized by federal authorities from Madoff's mansion in Palm Beach.

The collection sold for over $41,500.
While Bernard Madoff serves a 150-year prison term in South Carolina, five former employees were found guilty of conspiracy in March 2014. A jury ruled they had for years helped conceal his massive Ponzi scheme.

The verdicts were the first jury convictions since Madoff’s scam was exposed, and came after a trial that lasted nearly six months. One defendant, Annette Bongiorno, worked for Madoff for 40 years as his secretary and at one point had as much as $50m in her accounts. Bongiorno, 65, had multi-million dollar homes in Long Island and Florida and drives a Mercedes worth $100,000.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

2017 Ferrari 488 Spider

The 2017 Ferrari 488 Spider carries over much of its styling characteristics from the GTB. At the back of the 2017 Ferrari 488 Spider is the 3.9-liter, turbocharged V-8 engine of 660 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque. The 488 Spider achieves 0-60 mph in 3 seconds, or 0-124 mph in 8.3 seconds on to a top speed of 203 mph.
The 2017 Ferrari 488 Spider hit the pavement in late 2016. Base price is something around $265,000.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Curse of Pompeii

Most tourists who visit Pompeii every year leave with nothing but memories. Some take away a little extra – pieces of Pompeii. Many of those who have slipped a piece of one the world’s most important archaeological sites into their pockets have come to regret their actions.

Tourists who took relics from the ruined Roman city have been returning them to the site, claiming they are cursed.
One man wrote from Latin America saying that he and his entire family had experienced “trauma after trauma” after he took a piece of stone from Pompeii. Massimo Osanna, Pompeii’s archaeological superintendent, said he had received up to a hundred packages from across the world in recent years containing items from the site, often accompanied by letters explaining the relics had brought them bad luck.
The “Curse of Pompeii” says the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 was punishment inflicted by the gods after legionaries destroyed holy buildings.

“At a certain point, people started believing in this story again,” said Mr Osanna. “Even proper thieves have returned things to us.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Pakistan Ruby - Hunza Valley

The Hunza valley is home to Pakistan's ruby deposits. After Burma, the only region in the world to produce ‘Blood Red’ ruby is Hunza valley. The Hunza is situated in the extreme northern part of Pakistan. The real 'Shangri-La', it is a stunningly beautiful valley, towered over by five snowcapped mountains. The ruby belt in Hunza Valley stretches over an area of about 100 kilometers.
Ruby is a rare gem because the chromium pigments embedded in the earth’s crust are not plentiful and the chromium had to meet up with the element alumina at the exact moment that crystallization occurred. Without these two elemental factors the gem won't be red. The ruby deposits occur in metamorphosed re-crystallized limestone marble in a narrow belt from Hunza Valley to Ishkoman.