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Madoff with the Money by Jerry Oppenheimer

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Chapter 12. Life inside the Madoff Piggy Bank, Flashing the Plastic, and Losing the Farm

Not long before Bernie was arrested he and Ruth had visited their multimillion-dollar abode in Palm Beach, the wealthy, somewhat Jewish enclave where investors in Madoff would lose hundreds of millions of dollars. One of Bernie and Ruth's favorite men's shops that also sold some women's wear was the chic Trillion boutique under the palms on ritzy Worth Avenue, an amalgam of trendy Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Paris's glamorous Avenue Montaigne, London's tony Oxford Street, and Milan's stylish Via della Spiga.

The Madoffs had shopped at Trillion for some three decades.

Bernie, whose mother wouldn't buy him Keds sneakers when he was a kid, which made him feel like a Laurelton outcast, spent money like a kid in a candy store at Trillion.

The store offered a very special $7,400 unconstructed, handmade vicuna and cashmere, cream-and-brown herringbone jacket that took a very special buyer to see it for what it was—and afford to pay for it. Bernie was that kind of guy, says Trillion's owner, David Neff, who personally served the Madoffs, and bonded with Bernie.

That jacket was unique and it was really expensive, and not everybody could appreciate it for a multitude of reasons. It takes a certain attitude; it's not for everybody. But when Bernie saw it he just lit up, and said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah—I like that." There are two reasons he liked it. First of all it really is very special, but secondly ...

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