Auction using Madoff's name not quite what it seems, BBB says - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Auction using Madoff's name not quite what it seems, BBB says

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

CORDOVA, TN (WMC-TV) - If you bought Friday's edition of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, you probably saw a sticker advertising a Bernie Madoff Auction at the Cordova Esplanade Conference Complex. 

Madoff's name, now synonymous with his Ponzi Scheme, is an attention getter, but the Better Business Bureau's Randy Hutchinson says potential buyers should be cautious.

"We're always worried when the small print sort of changes the story of the big print," Hutchinson said Friday.

According to Hutchison, there is nothing in the ad that should make you believe what's on the auction block belonged to Madoff or his victims.

"If you're thinking that you're getting a great deal because some victim of Bernie Madoff is selling stuff at a distressed price, beware," he said.

In fact, there's so much in the fine print even Hutchison doesn't know what it means. 

"'Flashy items duly instructed by millionaire's estate?' No idea what that means," he said.

At the website printed on the ad, there is only a paragraph asking Madoff victims to let the company sell their goods.  The website even spells his name wrong.

"It may be a legitimate auction, but that just doesn't give us any comfort level that this is a real sophisticated kind of deal," Hutchinson said.

A phone number on the ad rings to the Atlanta-based East Coast Financial.  But no one there returned our call.

A spokesperson at the Cordova Conference Complex spoke to the client renting the facility.  She was told to tell the media our cameras will not be welcome inside Saturday's auction.

Huchison said buyers who something at the auction that seems like a good deal should not be afraid to make a purchase, but they should not assume they are helping Madoff's victims, because that would be tough to prove.

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