Prosecutors Point To Madoff 'Love Triangle' In Case Against Underlings

Aug 12 2013 | 10:10am ET

Five former Bernard Madoff lieutenants pleaded not guilty to charges they played a hand in his $65 billion Ponzi scheme, but that's not the story that everyone's talking about.

Operations director Daniel Bonventre, Madoff secretary Annette Bongiorno, Joann Crupi, who handled the firm's daily cash balances, and computer programmers Jerome O'Hara and George Perez were arraigned Friday on charges in an amended complaint. And that complaint alleges that "one of the defendants was involved in a love triangle with Bernard Madoff himself."

The court papers do not indicate to whom prosecutors are referring, a fact noted by the defendants' lawyers when asked about it. Crupi has previously said that she is a lesbian.

"It's hard to take a position when we don't know who they are talking about," Larry Krantz, who represents Perez, said. Crupi's lawyer, Eric Breslin, concurred.

"Until what get the details of what the government is alleging, it's very hard for us to respond," he told the New York Daily News.

"The government's investigation has revealed that over the course of the multi-decade fraud alleged in the indictment, a number of Madoff Securities employees and customers—including expected witnesses, defendants and others—were involved in romantic or sexual relationships," prosecutors allege.

If true, it is not the first time that Madoff, who is serving a 150-year jail sentence, has been accused of having an affair, nor the first time that his firm was alleged to have been something of a brothel. A former client, Sheryl Weinstein, said she had an affair with Madoff, and another investor alleged that Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities featured a "culture of sexual deviance," presided over by Madoff, who had a known "affinity for escorts, masseuses and attractive female employees."

At the arraignment, U.S. District Court Judge Laura Swain Taylor rejected the defenses' request to push the October trial to January.


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