‘Madoff 5’ Can’t Wriggle Out of Their Convictions

     NEW YORK (CN) – The so-called “Madoff 5” can’t wriggle out of their convictions for helping Bernard Madoff run the nation’s largest Ponzi scheme, the federal judge who oversaw their trial ruled.
     U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain said that during the five-month trial, the federal government presented “considerable evidence” to support the various convictions on securities fraud, conspiracy, and other charges, against Daniel Bonventre, Annette Bongiorno, Joanne Crupi, Jerome O’Hara and George Perez.
     They were convicted by a jury on March 24.
     The five had also asked for a new trial, citing prosecutorial misconduct. But the judge nixed that, too, saying that there was “extensive evidence presented at trial concerning how the defendants interacted and worked together as Madoff Securities employees and how aspects of their work had combined to support and perpetuate the fraud.”
     Bonventre, the “self-titled ‘Director of Operations,” and Bongiorno, an investment advisor, began working for Madoff in the ’60s. Crupi, also an advisor, came on board in the ’80s, and O’Hara and Perez, both computer programmers, joined the firm in the ’90s.
     All five were working at the firm in 2008 when Madoff was arrested.
     Bonventure argued that he had no involvement in the preparation of bogus financial statements, and even if he did, he didn’t know what was in them.
     The judge dismissed that argument, adding that “there was considerable evidence at trial in the government’s case alone from which a jury could reasonably infer that Bonventre was a knowing and willful participant in the false filings.”
     Bongiorno argued that no government witness demonstrated that her regular withdrawals of thousands of dollars from various accounts were taxable, and that such withdrawals were made “openly” and therefore she wasn’t hiding anything.
     But Swain didn’t buy it. “If, as it is clear from the convictions, the jury found that Bongiorno knew that the trading was false, the abundant evidence supporting the finding of that knowledge was more than sufficient to support a finding that Bongiorno’s cash withdrawals were not legitimate non-taxable withdrawals of accumulated capital.”
     Crupi had argued that the government failed to prove that she had the requisite intent to commit bank fraud.
     But the judge pointed out that evidence demonstrated that she knew the purpose of certain documents “was to induce banks to provide loans and that the documentation that she provided to the banks did not match Madoff Securities’ records.”
     O’Hara and Perez argued that there’s no evidence to support their convictions, among other things.
     But the judge said the government introduced sufficient evidence that they created various computer programs to generate conflicting versions of fraudulent books and records.
     The five face sentencing in September.
     Madoff is doing time at the Federal Correctional Institution Butner Medium near Butner, North Carolina, located about 45 miles northwest of Raleigh.

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