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The recession must really be over.
More likely, people bidding on the dozens of eccentric and over the top vehicles once owner by Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein just wanted to see what it felt like to be illegally luxurious.
"I think this is impressive to anybody," said Rick Levin, whose company put on the auction at the Broward Convention Center. "I know they talk about high-end art at auctions, but these vehicles, many of them are like works of art so it's impressive to see them lined up here."
Most items at an auction are considered steals, but it really was the case Thursday. Rothstein stole more than $1 billion amassing his fleet of vehicles.
Proceeds from the auction will go toward paying back the victims conned by Rothstein, who will likely be sentenced to 100 years in prison for his scheme. The auction raised just over $5.8 million, a drop in the bucket compared to what Rothstein collected, but still better than nothing.
Rothstein was accused of many things, but being humble wasn't one of them. The man loved to show off by spending tons of other people's money on crazy-expensive toys.
Cars like two Ferrari's, a Lamborghini, a Maserati, a Mercedes-McClaren, a classic 1967 Corvette, and the flagship of his land fleet, a Bugatti Veyron. That's just the fastest, most expensive production car made. It retails for about $1.4 million.
Car collector Gil Dezer had his eye on it.
"I want the Bugatti," Dezer said. "If I don't steal it, I'm not gonna buy it, that's the reason we come to auctions, otherwise we can go to dealers and pay full price for it."
It sold for $858,000 to the same exotic car dealer who sold Rothstein some of his cars in the first place. That dealer, Euro Motorsport of Fort Lauderdale, also bought the 1967 Corvette for $103,000 and the Mercedes McClaren, which looks like a giant yellow hornet about to take flight, for $301,000.
Every car was surrounded by IRS agents, and with Rothstein's ill-gotten property being auctioned off while he sits in jail, the feds hope there's a message being sent.
"Don't do it, if you're going to come into South Florida and perpetrate one of these frauds, it's not a question of if I catch you, it's a question of when," warned Danny Auer, head of the IRS Criminal Investigations office in Miami.
Rothstein's boats raised $3.2 million, which includes the $2.5 million someone dropped on the Princess Kimberly, the yacht named for Rothstein's wife.