Madoff Defendants Just Following Orders, Lawyers Say

Mar 12 2014 | 11:18am ET

Bernard Madoff's underlings simply did what they were told by the Ponzi schemer, their lawyers insisted yesterday.

Five of the arch-fraudster's lieutenants are on trial for aiding and abetting the massive $65 billion scam. After five months, the jury in the case is hearing closing arguments and could begin deliberating this week.

Prosecutors have argued that the five—Annette Bongiorno, Daniel Bonventre, Joann Crupi, Jerome O'Hara and George Perez—knew that Madoff was up to no good and helped him cover it up for decades. Lawyers for Bongiorno, a portfolio manager, and O'Hara, a computer program, gave their last pitch to jurors that the government got it wrong.

Madoff, Bongiorno's lawyer, Roland Riopelle said, was "a titan, a guru, a Wall Street genius." Bongiorno "was living in a little bubble of her own" and had no idea she was doing anything illegal.

O'Hara's lawyer referred to his client and Perez as "the dopey computer programmers, the peons." Prosecutors have argued that the two shook Madoff down for more money—and asked for it in diamonds—when they discovered what was going on in 2006, but Gordon Mehler said that O'Hara merely told Madoff he didn't want to work on questionable projects anymore.

"Discomfort does not prove criminal intent," Mehler said, and O'Hara "never intended to engage in criminal behavior."

Mehler also sought to discredit the government's star witness, former Madoff CFO Frank DiPascali, calling him and Madoff "two of the greatest criminal masterminds in human history." DiPascali, who has pleaded guilty in the case, spent weeks on the stand, explaining how Madoff's firm worked and the role allegedly played by the defendants in it.

Closing statements, which began last week, will continue today.


In Depth

Why Ponzi Schemes Work: An In-Depth Look At The Allen Stanford Fraud

Dec 21 2014 | 10:30am ET

Texan Allen Stanford first appeared on the radars of financial regulators in 1997...

Lifestyle

Hedgie Funds US Squash Program

Dec 24 2014 | 8:46am ET

Squash, anyone?

Guest Contributor

EidoSearch’s Top Three Market Projections For 2015

Dec 23 2014 | 4:03am ET

It is that time of year again when prognosticators make their big market calls for...

 

Sponsored Content

Editor's Note

    Guidelines for Guest Articles

    Oct 22 2014 | 9:46am ET

    We are always looking for guest articles from hedge fund managers and buy-side firms.

    If you are interested in submitting a contributed piece for possible publication on FINalternatives, please take a look at the specs. Read more…

 

Futures Magazine

December 2014 Cover

Futures 2014 person of the year

Jeff Sprecher was simply looking for a platform to trade energies when launching ICE 14 years ago but it has grown to reach the pinnacle of both the listed futures and equities world.

The Alpha Pages

TAP July/August 2014 Cover

The Alpha Pages Interview: Senator Rand Paul

Senator Paul sat down in the debut series of the Alpha Pages Interview to discuss the broken tax code, regulation surrounding Bitcoin, and his plans for the 2016 Presidential election.