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Prosecutors want Madoff's assets

The targeted assets for forfeiture include a $7 million Manhattan condominium, as well as homes in Montauk, N.Y., Palm Beach, Fla., and Cap d'Antibes, France.

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By Allan Chernoff, CNN Senior Correspondent

What progress is the Obama administration making toward ending the recession?
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Bernard Madoff's mug shot.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Federal prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of Bernard Madoff's four homes and the bulk of his assets, following Madoff's guilty plea last Thursday to operating a massive investment fraud.

The targeted assets, many of which are held by Madoff's wife, Ruth, include: a Manhattan condominium on East 64th Street where Madoff was under house arrest for three months prior to his guilty plea, valued at $7 million; homes in Montauk, New York, Palm Beach, Florida and Cap d'Antibes, France, as well as "all insured and readily salable personal property" contained in the homes; a yacht named Bull, docked in France; three other boats; four automobiles, including two Mercedes, one BMW and one Volkswagen; a Steinway piano valued at $39,000; a silverware set valued at $65,000; $17 million deposited at Wachovia Bank; $45 million in securities held at COHMAD Securities; and Madoff's interest in COHMAD Securities.

Madoff defense attorney Daniel Horowitz told CNN he had "no comment."

Ruth Madoff's attorney Peter Chavkin responded to a CNN inquiry by saying, "sorry but no comment."

The fact that many of the assets are in Ruth Madoff's name should not prevent the government from seizing them, said former federal prosecutor Bradley Simon of Simon & Partners.

"Since she was in the business too it's going to be hard to show these assets came from another source other than through the business," said Simon. "It's pretty easy to show this property derived from the proceeds of the illegal activity. They'll be able to take every nickel from him."

Madoff is in jail at the Metropolitan Correction Center in Lower Manhattan after pleading guilty to 11 criminal counts that carry a potential prison sentence of 150 years. He is scheduled to be sentenced June 16 for masterminding what appears to have been history's biggest investment fraud. Bernard L. Madoff Securities, at the end of November, reported to clients that their investments were worth a total of $65 billion, when in fact Madoff was holding a small fraction of that amount.

"I think they've found the domestic money, but I don't think they've found the offshore accounts," said Madoff victim Judith Welling. "What you really need is an inside whistleblower or someone in the family breaking down." To top of page

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