Madoff’s stolen statue returned with “Bernie the Swindler” message

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ A $10,000 statue stolen from the Palm Beach estate of disgraced financier Bernard Madoff has been found, with a message.

Thieves calling themselves “The Educators” have returned a statue stolen from disgraced investment guru Bernie Madoff. And they hope he’s learned his lesson.

The Palm Beach Post reports that the $10,000 copper sculpture turned up Wednesday near the country club Madoff belonged to.

A note attached read: “Bernie the Swindler, Lesson: Return stolen property to rightful owners. Signed by The Educators.”

The statue was reported missing Dec. 22, about a week after the Wall Street money manager was arrested on charges he bilked investors out of more than $50 billion. His clients included major banks, charities and retirees.

Police are investigating the return of the statue, which did not appear to be damaged.

The action mimics activity in the 2004 German film The Edukators, which features revolutionary activists that break into people’s mansions – but without stealing anything – to protest against capitalist values.

Police say the statue does not appear to have been damaged, and the investigation continues. It was reported missing on Dec. 22.

Madoff is accused of scamming major banks, charities, retirees and some of the world’s wealthiest investors in a $50 billion Ponzi scheme. The Wall Street money manager remains on house arrest in his Manhattan apartment.

AP-ES-12-31-08 1645EST

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