Prosecutors Question Lavish Expenses At Madoff Employees' Trial

Oct 22 2013 | 10:36am ET

Corporate credit-card statements took center-stage yesterday at the trial of five former Bernard Madoff employees.

Prosecutor John Zach showed jurors three years worth of statements from Joann Crupi's corporate card, showing lavish vacations and thousands of dollars spent on wine. Crupi handled the Madoff firm's daily cash balances.

"Did you observe Ms. Crupi passing out almost $2,000 of wine for a Thanksgiving celebration?" Zach asked Charlene White, a former date-entry employee who joined the Madoff firm in 1993. But U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain barred Zach from asking whether the purchases were legitimate business expenses, after White said work matters could not explain the cruises or trips to Las Vegas.

The credit-card statements covered the years 2004 through 2006.

Annette Bongiorno, Daniel Bonventre, Crupi, Jerome O'Hara and George Perez are accused of aiding and abetting Madoff's fraud, which unraveled in late 2008. All five—the first of the 15 people accused in the case to stand trial—deny knowing that their boss was running a scam.

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