Madoff Secretary Says Programmers Were 'Smug'

Nov 6 2013 | 11:51am ET

Bernard Madoff's former personal secretary said that two computer programmers at the firm appeared "smug" following a meeting in which prosecutors say they essentially shook down the arch-fraudster.

The revelation came in a court filing, as prosecutors and the defense lawyers for five former Madoff employees battle over whether or not Eleanor Squillari will be permitted to tell a jury what she saw.

Prosecutors allege that George Perez and Jerome O'Hara realized in 2006—two years before the fraud collapsed—that their code was essential to the scam. During what Squillari said was an unusual closed-door meeting, the government said that the two men demanded—and received—more money from Madoff.

Squillari said she found the meeting with Perez and O'Hara strange because of Madoff's "very low level of technical sophistication."

Perez' lawyer said wrote to U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain that it was "impossible" for Squillari to know that his client felt smug "simply by observing the defendants walk silently past her following the meeting."

Perez and O'Hara are on trial for assisting Madoff's $65 billion fraud, alongside Annette Bongiorno, Joann Crupi and Daniel Bonventre. On the stand this week has been former Madoff trader David Kugel, who has pleaded guilty in the case.

Bongiorno's lawyer attacked Kugel, alleging that he is lying to the jury to receive a lighter sentence, and pointing out that he had allowed his wife to sign tax returns containing false information and his children to open accounts "full of trades you knew to be fake."

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