Closing Arguments Begin In Madoff Lieutenants’ Trial

Mar 6 2014 | 10:19am ET

After five months, the trial of five former employees of Bernard Madoff is nearing its end.

Closing statements in the case began this week, with prosecutors telling the jury that the five knowingly enabled Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme for decades prior to its collapse in 2008.

“Day after day, year after year, these defendants pulled off an avalanche of different lies that enabled Madoff Securities to steal billions of dollars from investors,” prosecutor John Zach said. And the ease with which the five lied underscores “the scope and absurdity of the fraud.”

“Frankly,” Zach said, “it was often just sloppy.

Prosecutors have accused Annette Bongiorno, Daniel Bonventre, JoAnn Crupi, Jerome O’Hara and George Perez of aiding and abetting Madoff’s scam, helping the fraudster concoct bogus trading records “out of thin air” and helping him avoid detection for decades. Bonventre was Madoff’s operations director, Bongiorno and Crupi were portfolio managers, and O’Hara and Perez computer programmers at the firm.

Both Bongiorno and Bonventre testified in their own defense, and Zach told the jury that both had lied on the stand.

The five defendants have said they were duped by Madoff and did not know he was doing anything illegal. If convicted, they each face decades in prison.

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