While financial analysts and media pundits continue to compare the fall of FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried and criminal Ponzi scheme artist Bernie Madoff, there is a stark difference in the type of wealth they accumulated. But they both enjoyed spending that wealth on real estate.
While Bankman-Fried allegedly sits on a mountain of missing or lost crypto that investors may never see again, Madoff, who died in prison in April 2021, is still paying back his investors — in cash. The U.S. Department of Justice recently repaid another $370 million to victims of Madoff’s notorious Ponzi scheme, for a total of $4 billion.
One similarity that has appeared in the ashes of their business practices is that Bankman-Fried and Madoff both loved collecting high-priced real estate, albeit in different countries.
While much has been written about Bankman-Fried’s $30 million penthouse where he lived with nine colleagues, Bahamian lawyers say FTX executives bought as many as 35 different properties across the Bahamas at a price tag of $256.3 million, and Bahamian regulators want it back. Although few specifics have been revealed about Bankman-Fried’s accumulated real estate properties, Madoff’s real estate holdings have taken on a life of their own and, as recently as 2022, were still being bought and resold.
According to a recent New York Post recap of Madoff’s real estate holdings, his Upper East Side Manhatten penthouse at 133 E. 64th St. has hit the market again for $15 million. Real estate investor Lawrence Benenson last purchased it in 2014 for $14 million. Since Madoff’s arrest on Dec. 11, 2008, this marks the third time that the three-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom residence has been listed for sale.
Meanwhile, Madoff’s Hamptons home is still listed for $22.5 million, having entered and left the market several times over the last few years.
According to Architectural Digest, his Montauk beach house, which has four bedrooms, three baths, a pool and beach rights, was initially valued at $7 million and sold for $9.4 million.