On Monday, a federal jury found five former employees of Bernie Madoff guilty of conspiracy and securities fraud for helping the disgraced financier run the biggest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history. The trial of the former aides at Madoff’s securities firm lasted more than five months—one of the longest ever in the Manhattan federal court—and, according to Reuters, “while there was little dispute that various defendants engaged in activities such as backdating fake trades and creating false documents, the case turned on whether they knew at the time that they were aiding Madoff's fraud.”
The federal jury rejected the defense that the employees were also scammed by Madoff, who is currently serving a 150-year term for the Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of more than $17 billion. "These five defendants played crucial roles in constructing and maintaining the house of cards that was the Madoff investment fraud," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. "The scheme these defendants helped perpetrate cost innumerable investors their life savings. Now it likely will cost the defendants their freedom."
Madoff did not cooperate with prosecutors during the trial. The convictions, Bloomberg reports, signal “a major victory for the U.S. government, coming in the only criminal trial brought in the five years since the scam was revealed.”
Here’s more from Bloomberg on the defendants:
The defendants are Annette Bongiorno, who ran the investment advisory unit at the center of the fraud; Joann Crupi, who managed large accounts; Daniel Bonventre, the ex-operations chief of Madoff’s broker-dealer; and computer programmers George Perez and Jerome O’Hara, accused of automating the scam as it grew rapidly in the 1990s.