Madoff beach house sells big

The Ponzi swindler's Montauk getaway goes to a mystery buyer for more than its $8.75 million list price.

By Nina Easton, Washington Editor

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- It looks like Fed chief Ben Bernanke is right in saying the recession is ending: Today, Tiffany's & Co. advertised a $115,000 diamond and platinum bracelet in its page three New York Times spot -- and convicted swindler Bernie Madoff's Montauk beach house sold for more than its $8.75 million list price.

The real estate agent handling the property won't disclose the buyer -- nor the exact price -- but says contracts have been signed. "It did go for over the list price," Joan Hegner, a broker with Corcoran Group, told Fortune. There were between five and 10 offers on the property, and more than 28 showings since it went on the market in late August, she added.

The house, nestled on a beach in Montauk -- a town at the farthest reaches of Long Island known for its surfing and fishing -- is a relatively modest getaway for a family as wealthy as the Madoffs. Completed in 1982, it featured a Formica kitchen and small bedrooms.

Locals were skeptical that Corcoran -- enlisted by a U.S. Marshal-picked management company -- could even get the asking price.

But the property, which boasts sweeping ocean views, was built closer to the beach than would be permitted under today's strict zoning regulations. And it offered the added bonus of the trophy value of nabbing the vacation home of the biggest swindler in history.

Anticipating multiple bids on the property, the U.S. Marshal service planned a kind of silent auction. But according to Hegner, there was no bidding war. The mystery buyer's bid stood out as "the best and highest." To top of page

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