The sale of 11 luxury cars once owned by imprisoned Best Buy vendor Russell Cole brought in a cool $2.29 million at a U.S. Treasury auction, where a portion of the proceeds could provide some restitution to the Richfield-based retailer.
"It was a packed house," said Michelle Tess, a spokeswoman with the auction house, Manheim Milwaukee. "People were shoulder to shoulder in the lanes. When the Enzo sold, there was a round of applause."
Bidding for the 2003 Ferrari Enzo started at $1 million and went for $1.28 million to a California dealer who also bought a 2002 Aston Martin for $76,000. Names are not yet part of the public record, and the auction house declined to name the buyer.
The Enzo was the prize of the federal government's seizure at Russell and Abby Cole's multimillion-dollar mansion in the Chicago suburb of Deerfield. The couple was convicted of conspiring with a Best Buy employee to fraudulently overcharge Best Buy for $32.8 million in computer parts.
Named after the company's founder, only 400 Enzos were built. Industry experts said the auctioned car is a rarity because it has just 1,120 miles.
More than 500 registered bidders took part in Tuesday's 45-minute auction, unique because of the large number of exotic cars seized by federal agents.
Tess said dealers bought all but two of the cars -- the 2005 Ferrari Coupe F430, which went for $139,000, and the 2008 Mercedes Benz, which sold for $66,500.
Russell Cole is serving 15 years for fraud, money laundering and income tax evasion. Abby Cole, who founded their company, Chip Factory, was sentenced to three years' probation for tax evasion and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Former Best Buy employee Robert Bossany pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 7 1/2 years.
Jackie Crosby • 612-673-7335