NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A prosecutor has laid out his case to the jury that five ex-employees of imprisoned financier Bernard Madoff helped carry out history’s biggest Ponzi scheme.
Prosecutor Matthew Schwartz introduced the government’s case Wednesday, saying the defendants “helped perpetuate Madoff’s elaborate fiction.” The Manhattan federal court trial is expected to last five months.
Defendants include Madoff’s former longtime secretary and the director of operations at the firm he headed since the 1960s. Other defendants are a former account manager and two computer programmers. All have pleaded not guilty.
The prosecution argued two of the defendants falsely informed investors which stocks and bonds Madoff had purchased for them when, in fact, he had not purchased any at all.
“They spent decades committing crimes day after day,” Schwartz said.
The 75-year-old Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence after revealing the epic fraud in December 2008. Prosecutors will try to prove that Madoff’s employees helped him carry out a multi-decade scam that cheated thousands of investors of nearly $20 billion.
“They helped Madoff steal billions of dollars and got rich themselves in the process,” said Schwartz.
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