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Prosecution Delivers Closing Arguments In Trial Of Bernard Madoff’s Ex-Employees

Daniel Bonventre, George Perez and JoAnn Crupi are three of the five former employees of Bernard Madoff on trial for allegedly helping the disgraced financier run his massive Ponzi scheme. (credit: Getty Images)

Daniel Bonventre, George Perez and JoAnn Crupi are three of the five former employees of Bernard Madoff on trial for allegedly helping the disgraced financier run his massive Ponzi scheme. (credit: Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A prosecutor started closing arguments in the New York trial of five ex-employees of Bernard Madoff by telling jurors that each of the defendants played a “crucial role” in the mammoth fraud.

As WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported, prosecutor John Zach told jurors Tuesday that Madoff depended on his former secretary, his former head of operations, an account manager and two computer programmers to keep his fraud alive for four decades. It collapsed in December 2008 when he ran out of money and confessed to FBI agents that his business was a sham. He pleaded guilty and is serving a 150-year sentence at a federal prison.

The lost to investors in real money was $20 billion, said Zach, while the loss in what the investors thought they had amounted to over $60 billion.

Zach said the defendants were motivated by money — they all became multimillionaires by tending Madoff Ponzi scheme.

The closing arguments come as a nearly six-month trial winds down in Manhattan.

Prosecutors have described the defendants as “necessary players” in Madoff’s scheme.

They allege that Daniel Bonventre, Madoff’s former operations manager, kept three separate books on the business designed to fool the Securities and Exchange Commission, banks or anyone else who examined them; that Annette Bongiorno, who handled the customer side of the fake investment business, and JoAnn Crupi, the account manager, used old stock tables to fabricate account statements and other fake records intended to dupe clients by showing steady returns even during economic downturns; and that computer programmers Jerome O’Hara and George Perez developed a software program that automated the scheme.

All of the defendants have pleaded not guilty and two of them testified.

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