Madoff Still Bringing In Cash … On eBay

Bernard Madoff Desktop Cigar Humidor Collectable
Did you get fleeced by Bernard Madoff? Or did you buy that Madoff Securities fleece jacket on eBay?

Madoff, who was arrested last month after allegedly telling investigators he lost as much as $50 billion of investors' money in a giant Ponzi scheme, put his firm's name on items including T-shirts, beach towels, tote bags and umbrellas.

Dozens of the keepsakes are now being sold on eBay.

Some of the sellers say they're former clients and employees. Others, like broker John Mitchell, hawked a humidor bearing Madoff's name.

"I find these things and then I resell them," Mitchell, of Fox Grove, Ill., said Sunday. He said he bought the humidor from the manufacturer before it ever made it to Madoff's firm.

Mitchell said he also sold Lehman Brothers items after the firm declared bankruptcy in September.

"People are buying that stuff," he said. "It's sad, but it's still humorous."

Other Madoff items for sale on eBay include insulated coolers, binoculars, golf caps and flashlights. Several eBay postings are prodding buyers to "own a piece of history!"

The Madoff name wasn't fetching top dollar on the Internet. Bidding for many items didn't rise above $50.

Meanwhile, the House Financial Services Committee will question the SEC's internal watchdog Monday, as lawmakers try to learn why the regulatory agency failed to detect the alleged $50 billion investment fraud by Madoff.

Madoff's alleged Ponzi scheme will be a case study for a planned overhaul of laws regulating financial markets, said Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., who will chair the hearing.

Witnesses include H. David Kotz, the SEC inspector general. He's already is looking into the agency's failure to uncover the fraud despite several warnings.

Kotz previously said he will examine the relationship between a former SEC attorney and Madoff's niece, who are now married.

The SEC chairman, Christopher Cox, has said credible and specific allegations regarding Madoff's wrongdoing - going back to at least 1999 - were repeatedly brought to the attention of SEC staff. Cox said he was concerned by the apparent multiple failures to thoroughly investigate the allegations or at any point to seek formal authority from the commission to pursue them.

Kanjorski, who heads a Financial Services subcommittee, said in an interview, "I hope this doesn't turn out to be a 'gotcha' hearing." Rather, he said, lawmakers will be asking, "Where were the failures? Where were the holes?"

He said Cox's statements on staff failures were a surprising indictment of his own agency.

"Why didn't they have a working group saying, 'OK guys, what are you hearing out there? What are people on the street complaining about?'"