February 8, 2008
An Internal Revenue Service auction of tax evader Elaine Brown’s possessions netted the government nearly $80,000.
A Queens, N.Y., man placed the winning $32,250 bid for a 32.15-ounce bar of Engelhard gold. Peter Rhee intends to give the golden prize to his three grown children as an investment, he said.
The IRS seized the gold bar and other valuables from Brown after she and her husband, Ed Brown, surrendered to federal agents last fall after a standoff in which the couple threatened to use violence if the government invaded their Plainfield property.
The Browns were convicted last year of hiding $1.9 million in income from the IRS but holed up in their home to avoid serving their five-year sentences. They are now in prison.
Most of the bidders at the auction, held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, cared less where the items came from. They just looked for a bargain.
Fifty-three bidders took aim at South African Kruggerand, American Gold Eagle coins and $2 bills. Rhee also paid $2,000 for a painting owned by Elaine Brown.
Hudson resident David Plummer offered $1,500 for a hyperbaric chamber and won the bidding.
Plummer hopes his 26-year-old son Nathan can benefit from more oxygen in the chamber. Nathan suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2001, and even though he has made a good recovery, he could use more medical aid, his father said.
Plummer said he would try to contact Elaine Brown to inform her the chamber would be put to good use. Plummer said he takes no stance on what the Browns did, but the family losing their possessions “must be a terrible thing,” he said.
Trucks, cars and motorcycles owned by Ed Brown were sold at auction Wednesday, raising $22,000. The $102,000 raised in the past two days is a far cry from the $2.2 million the IRS says the Browns owe.