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For Sale: Burt Reynolds Firebird Seized in Solar Scandal

Nic Querolo

(Bloomberg) -- A 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am once owned by Burt Reynolds could be yours next week. Just don’t ask where it came from.

The U.S. Marshals Service is auctioning about 150 luxury cars seized from the alleged ringleaders of what authorities say was an $800 million investment scheme run through a mobile solar generator company. Alleged victims included Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

The Oct. 26 auction in Woodland, California, will be livestreamed, allowing buyers around the world to bid. “It is rare for the U.S. Marshals to hold an auction of such a stunning collection of vehicles,” Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Lasha Boyden with the Sacramento office of the U.S. Marshals said in a statement.

FBI agents seized the cars in December from Jeff and Paulette Carpoff, who ran the generator company DC Solar. Aside from Berkshire, alleged victims included Progressive Corp., and East West Bancorp Inc. The vehicle collection boasts 1960s Ford Mustangs, 1990s Humvees, a 1960 Austin-Healey and, of course, the classic Pontiac that Reynolds owned in homage of his ride in “Smokey and the Bandit.” In all, the collection is valued at more than $6 million, according to the company hosting the auction.

The Carpoffs have not been charged with any wrongdoing. “We were pleased to cooperate with the United States Attorney by agreeing to make these valuable personal assets available for sale,” Malcolm Segal, an attorney who represents them both, said in an emailed statement. “We were able to do so without having to engage in a protracted legal dispute over the assets and wasting the funds and time on litigation.”

(Updates with attorney comment in the final paragraph.)

--With assistance from Brian Eckhouse.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nic Querolo in New York at jquerolo1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lynn Doan at ldoan6@bloomberg.net, Pratish Narayanan, Steven Frank

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