Mastro jewels bring in $350K at auction
Among the nearly 300 pieces of jewelry seized from fugitive real-estate developer Michael Mastro and his wife, one attracted 262 bids.
Seattle Times business reporter
The auction for nearly 300 pieces of jewelry seized in France in 2012 from fugitive Seattle real-estate developer Michael Mastro and his wife Linda is now over, and the initial tally shows it brought in $350,165.
The jewelry had been listed online with the Texas-based auctioneer Gaston & Sheehan for the last two weeks on behalf of the U.S. Marshals Service.
The most sought-after item, which attracted 262 bids, was a 14-carat white gold ring set with eight marquise-cut emeralds and eight round diamonds around a cabochon apple-green jade. It went for $3,650.
The most expensive items sold were the Rolex watches — the men’s alligator banded one fetched $32,300 after 10 bids, while the women’s diamond-encrusted watch went for $24,650 with only one bid.
Twelve items drew no bids — including a $11,900 ladies diamond Concord La Scala watch and a $3,345 double-strand pearl necklace coupled with a hinged bracelet with cat heads with ruby eyes.
Michael Mastro was a Seattle real-estate developer and lender for 40 years until the 2008 crash unraveled his heavily leveraged business.
In 2011, he and his wife ignored a bankruptcy judge’s order to turn over the two giant diamond rings, and the couple fled to France. A federal grand jury in Seattle indicted the Mastros on charges of bankruptcy fraud and money laundering after they disappeared.
Most of the auction’s proceeds will go to the bankruptcy trustee James Rigby, who is in charge of recovering as much as possible of the $250 million the Mastros owed creditors.
To date, Rigby said, he has , but has spent more than $10 million in legal fees and other costs to recover Mastro assets.