Selling the homes of criminals, one listing at a time

June 03, 2013 05:45PM

One of the most idiosyncratic real estate portfolios in New York City is in the hands of the U.S. Marshals, the Federal agency charged with selling the assets of convicted criminals. The Marshals have sold some 28 properties worth $42.5 million in the Southern District of New York, which covers Manhattan, since January 2012, the New York Times reported.

The agency’s current listings range from Peter Madoff’s Long Island mansion, on the market for almost $4.5 million, to a two-car garage in the East Bronx — where thieves have repeatedly stolen the “for sale” sign — asking a more modest $87,900.

In recent years, the Marshals have sold Dutch fraudster Jan-Dirk Paarlberg’s Dakota co-op and disgraced financier Hassan Nemazee’s Tribeca condominiums, as The Real Deal has reported.

After an individual is convicted, the asset forfeiture unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office confiscates the property. Then it’s up to the Marshals to sell it, which can involve everything from hanging air fresheners to clearing out rat infestations to cleaning up Madoff’s tennis courts. Proceeds go to victims or to fund further law enforcement efforts.

“We get a lot of mail for all his alias names here, and lots of stuff from the I.R.S.,” said Ashley Elitt, who purchased a two-bedroom condominium in Manhattan through the Marshals, referring to the jailed former owner. “Hopefully when he gets out, he won’t come hunt us down and say, ‘give me back my apartment!’” [NYT]Leigh Kamping-Carder