Five former employees of Bernard L. Madoff told a “staggering” number of lies to prop up their boss’s $17.5 billion Ponzi scheme, a prosecutor said during closing arguments of their criminal trial.
“Day after day, year after year, these defendants told an avalanche of different lies that allowed Madoff to steal billions from investors,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John Zach said at the start of summations in Manhattan federal court.
Testimony in the case ended yesterday. The criminal trial, now in its fifth month, is the first stemming from the scheme, which collapsed after Madoff’s arrest in December 2008 revealed his investment unit hoarded customer cash instead of using it to buy securities.
On Monday, defense attorneys showed jurors video clips of the con man telling participants at a conference in 2007 that fraud on Wall Street was “virtually impossible.” The footage was intended to show the ease with which Madoff could lie — a skill the defense argues Madoff used to dupe his inner circle into unwittingly aiding his plot.
The defendants are Daniel Bonventre, Madoff’s former operations director who ran the broker-dealer unit; Annette Bongiorno, who ran the investment advisory business; Joann Crupi, who managed large investment-advisory accounts; and computer programmers Jerome O’Hara and George Perez, accused of writing code to automate the creation of fake account statements and other false documents. All deny wrongdoing.
The case is U.S. v. O’Hara, 10-cr-00228, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).