A federal jury Monday found five former employees of Bernard Madoff guilty of knowingly being involved in the biggest Ponzi scheme in history and rejected their claims that they were just following orders.
The defendants’ testified that Madoff was the only one who knew of the swindle, but assistant U.S. attorney John T. Zach had told the jurors, “There’s really no dispute here that there was a massive criminal conspiracy” and that “the defendants knew that fraud was going on at Madoff Securities.”
Sentences will be handed down later, but it is certain that the five men and women will be joining Madoff by moving their residence to a prison cell.
One of the key testimonies on behalf of the prosecution was by Frank DiPascali Jr., who pleaded guilty in 2009 and has been cooperating with federal prosecutors and who told the jury that a fake ledger of securities trades was written up to show an auditor.
Madoff’s senior staffers kept a special set of books for the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Lawyers for the defendants questioned DiPascalis veracity and claimed his testimony was based on his desire to reduce his own jail sentence.
The defendants’ material wealth blinded them from simply quitting the swindle that robbed institutions, such as Yeshiva University, and thousands of people of millions of dollars.
Daniel Bonventre, 67, New York, N.Y., received hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses and bought a New Jersey beach home.
Annette Bongiorno, 65, North Hills, N.Y., bought expensive homes in New York and Florida and Bentley car.
JoAnn Crupi, 52, Westfield, N.J., bought a vacation home on the New Jersey shore and also charged personal expense to Madoff Securities.
Jerome O’Hara, 50, Malverne, N.Y. and George Perez, 48, East Brunswick, N.J., objected to Madoff about having to change records and delete records and said they would not follow such orders in the future. However, a pay raise solved the problem.