High-end items to be auctioned off

November 12, 2009 9:20:12 PM PST
Jewelry, fine art, wine, high-end hand bags and even a few luxury vehicles will be up for auction in Raleigh next week.The items used to belong to William Wise, the Raleigh banker accused of operating a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of tens of millions of dollars.

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Wise used a company called Millennium Bank as a front to raise at least $68 million from more than 375 investors since 2004.

The government says Wise and his fellow defendants were operating a Ponzi scheme, making relatively small payments to investors, while using a vast majority of the investor's money to enrich themselves.

Click here to read about SEC announcing the lawsuit against Wise

Even though Wise's assets have been frozen, no criminal charges have been filed against him.

Nearly 500 items from the banker is being boxed up and is ready to be sold to pay off debts.

"Wonderful selection of ladies' handbags, purses, shoes," auctioneer Leland Little said.

"You have Chanel, and Louis Vuitton and Versace and Gucci," estate specialist Nancy Blount said. "It doesn't get much better than that."

There is plenty of stuff for men too with Rolex watches and 18-karat cigar holders, along with fine art including two original Thomas Kincade paintings, as well as fine wine. About 130 bottles, plus the two coolers they're stored in are all on the auction block.

"The Wises did buy the best of the best," Little said.

But it's allegedly not with their own money, which is why much of it is in Leland Little's Auction and Estate Sales office in Hillsborough.

"These assets are being sold as per the order of the court," Little said."For the most part everything is in excellent condition."

That includes three low-mileage, late-model luxury vehicles.

"A Cadillac Escalade Platinum series, and two Mercedes Benz," Little said.

Jewelry will also go to the highest bidder, including a nearly four carat center stone and internally flawless diamond ring.

Money brought in from the auction will be used to repay defrauded investors.

The auction will be held Nov. 18 at the North Raleigh Hilton beginning at 1 p.m.

Anyone can preview the items at 9 a.m. that morning.

Two auction houses are holding the auction, Leland Little Auction and Estate Sales and Iron Horse Auction Company out of Rockingham.

People can also bid online if they register before the auction.

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