NEW YORK — Five former employees of imprisoned financier Bernard Madoff were convicted Monday at the end of a six-month trial that cast them as the long arms of their boss, telling a web of lies to hide a fraud that enriched them and cheated investors out of $20 billion.
The trial was the first to result from the massive fraud revealed in December 2008, when Madoff ran out of money and was arrested. And it was a renunciation of Madoff's claim when he pleaded guilty to fraud charges in March 2009 that he acted alone.
"The evidence was just overwhelming," juror Craig Parise said as he left the courthouse.
The case focused on five people who prosecutors said helped Madoff carry out the fraud. Each was convicted of conspiracy to defraud clients, securities fraud and falsifying the books and records of a broker dealer. Prosecutors obtained convictions on all 31 charges, though only one defendant was charged in some counts.
Prosecutors unveiled hundreds of exhibits and showcased dozens of witnesses to prove charges against Annette Bongiorno, 66, Madoff's longtime secretary; Daniel Bonventre, 67, his director of operations for investments; JoAnn Crupi, 53, an account manager; and Jerome O'Hara, 51, and George Perez, 48, computer programmers.
The maximum potential sentences range from 78 years to 220 years in prison when the charges for each defendant are stacked up, but the actual sentences are likely to be far below that once the judge takes into consideration prior records and other facts unique to each defendant.
Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence.