By Quentin Fottrell
One convicted felon’s castoffs is another man’s marketing opportunity.
If you have a few hundred dollars to spare, you too can park your iPad in the pants where convicted felon Bernie Madoff once parked himself. You might say it’s the cotton equivalent of melting down a gold bar. FederickJames.com, which sells eco-friendly iPad covers, has made a brisk business selling iPad covers from recycled silk, rayon and wool. They’re the perfect multi-colored beach accessory. But an iPad cover made from Madoff’s old trousers?
At an auction by the U.S. Marshal’s office last year, John Vaccaro, owner of Frederick James, obtained a limited number of personal items belonging to the man who operated probably the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. It costs $250 for his former grey cotton J. Crew pants, $350 for an iPad cover from his old Ralph Lauren Polo chino blue pants and $500 for Madoff’s Murphy & Nye “sailmakers” orange pants. They had a waist size of 35-36 inches.
Vaccaro won’t say how much he paid for 8 of Madoff’s cashmere’s sweaters, 8 wool sweaters and 30 pairs of pants. But if he does make a profit on the covers, it will go to Madoff’s victims’ fund. Thus far, he’s made close to 40 iPad covers. “It’s a very limited edition,” he tells Pay Dirt. Vaccaro manages to squeeze 3-4 iPad covers out of Madoff’s pants and 2-3 out of a sweater. Did he find anything in the pockets? “Not yet. I’m still hoping for a safe deposit key.”
Is this the ultimate in bad taste? Or the taste of sweet revenge?