Mel Evans  /  AP
People look at items to be auctioned from the home of former Madoff finance chief Frank DiPascali. On June 25 the U.S. Marshals Service will auction the items.
updated 6/24/2010 6:07:29 PM ET 2010-06-24T22:07:29

A public viewing of items to be auctioned from the former home of jailed financier Bernard Madoff's chief financial officer produced a diversity of agendas from prospective buyers Thursday.

Some came in search of bargains, while simple curiosity drew others. Then there was Reenie Harris.

"It's a combination of things, but there's a certain amount of outrage," Harris said as she browsed through the belongings of Frank DiPascali that ranged from an ornate table with a built-in chess board to a snowblower and a couple of all-terrain vehicles.

"I wanted to experience disgust at these people who blatantly took other people's money," Harris added as an explanation of her presence in the drab, humid garage where the items were displayed. "This kind of screams out how appalling the whole thing is."

Proceeds will go to a fund to compensate Madoff's victims, said the U.S. Marshals Service, which is running the auction at the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy.

DiPascali, who was released on bail this week, is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty last August to money laundering, securities fraud and other crimes that could put him in prison for decades.

As part of his $10 million bail package, DiPascali must remain under house arrest and forfeit all family assets, except for an agreed-upon dollar amount directed to be less than $300,000.

DiPascali and his wife already have sold three cars and a yacht for a total of nearly $1 million, federal prosecutors have said.

It is not clear whether the possessions to be auctioned Friday will equal that amount. Many appeared to be recreational in nature rather than high-ticket goods: Home-theater electronics, a vintage pinball machine, foosball game and video road racing game; plenty of pool or patio furniture, in addition to more formal dining room and bedroom sets.

"It looks like they got all his fun stuff," said Sharon Lee, who said she was looking for a bedroom set for her son.

Lee and others said misgivings about buying items connected to an admitted swindler whose crimes remain incomprehensibly vast is balanced by the fact that the money will go to those who were victimized.

"I'd be doing my part to see the losers win something, I hope," said Agnes Gertz, a retiree from Wayne who said most of the furniture on display was either too bulky or too fancy for her tastes. "But at the same time, I now see how ornately people lived on other people's money," she said.

Prosecutors have confirmed that DiPascali has cooperated in the investigation and that information he has provided has been partly responsible for the charges brought against Madoff's former director of operations and the two computer programmers. The government said it expects to call DiPascali as a witness if those cases proceed to trial.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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