Five former employees of arch-fraudster Bernard Madoff will have their day in court next year.
The Ponzi schemer's lieutenants pleaded not guilty to a new 33-count indictment on Tuesday. The five will go on trial together next Oct. 7.
Lawyers for Daniel Bonventre, Annette Bongiorno, Joann Crupi, Jerome O'Hara and George Perez asked for more time to prepare, noting that the new charges make it "to a great degree… a new case," as Crupi's lawyer put it. The legal teams have 90 days to resubmit their motions to dismiss; if those bids fail, the trial could take up to three-and-a-half months, U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain said.
The new charges follow several recent guilty pleas in the Madoff case, including that of Madoff's brother, Peter, his chief compliance officer. All told, eight people have pleaded guilty in the $65 billion Ponzi scheme, including Madoff, who is serving 150 years in prison.
Bonventre was operations director at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, Bongiorno was Madoff's secretary and Crupi handled the firm's daily cash balances. O'Hara and Perez were computer programmers at the firm.