You'd think they'd know better than to trust their valuables to Bernie Madoff.
Wall Street bankers are investing in iPad cases made from sweaters and pants once worn by the fraudster that were snapped up by an enterprising businessman.
Tech entrepreneur John Vaccaro bought up much of Madoff's wardrobe at auction and had the clothing cut up and refashioned into $500 apparel.
"A Wall Street lawyer wanted to give them as Christmas presents," he said.
Vaccaro's company, Frederick James, had already been making iPad covers out of cashmere, but when he heard about the Madoff auction last fall, the idea clicked.
Spending "much more than I wanted to," he prevailed in bidding wars for all 16 pairs of Madoff's pants, which ranged from Polo Ralph Lauren and Murphy & Nye sailing pants to Banana Republic.
"First I searched all the pockets to see if there were any $100 bills inside," he said. "Then I found a designer who could make the cases from the cut-up clothing, which was tricky."
Much like Madoff's phony investment funds, the cases are prettier than they are protective, Vaccaro admits, noting Madoff's pants are not much safer for gadgets than they were for money.
"They are strictly for fashion purposes," he said. "If you drop it, it's going to crack."
Each pair of Madoff's 35- or 36-inch-waist pants yields four of the iPad cases, and the cashmere sweaters contained enough fabric for just three, he said.
"I've made 31 so far, and only have a few pairs of pants, sweaters and sweatshirts left," Vaccaro said.
Among the remaining pants are several pairs from Madoff's country club, each featuring ID labels inside bearing his name.
"I think it was so when they were dry-cleaned at the club, they knew whose was whose," he said.
Though Vaccaro says he is tempted to start hitting celebrity estate sales in search of clothing to spin into future iPad cases, Madoff's villainy and infamy makes him unique, he said.
"People want these because he's somebody who did something bad," Vaccaro said. "Given the economic situation of the past week, I think there's an interest in the financial sector in Madoff that there might not be for other celebrities."
At the auction last November, as he watched Wall Street bankers fighting over absurd Madoff items like velvet slippers, Vaccaro said he knew there would be a big market for his cases.
For those worried the clothing might be stained by Madoff, Vaccaro assures that everything was laundered or dry-cleaned prior to being made into cases.
"Most of it must have been sitting in his closet just back from the dry cleaner," he said.