Ex-Employees Accused Of Helping Carry Out Largest Ponzi Scheme In History

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – An FBI agent has kicked off testimony in the New York trial of five of Bernard Madoff’s ex-employees by describing Madoff’s arrest.

Agent Theodore Cacioppi testified Monday that he was watching television at home on Dec. 10, 2008 when his supervisor contacted him. The supervisor told him that the FBI had developed information that Madoff might be running the biggest Ponzi scheme in history.

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Cacioppi told the jury that he had never heard of Bernie Madoff until that day, but soon learned he was a very big deal.

Madoff had been chairman of Nasdaq and the chairman of an advisory committee to the SEC.

Cacioppi said he interviewed Madoff for about an hour before arresting him. Over the next week, the agent said he spoke to Madoff’s sons and put the 17th floor of the Lipstick Building in Midtown under quarantine.

The agent said that was so authorities could change the locks, install cameras and haul out the evidence.

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Months of testimony are expected at the Manhattan fraud trial. Opening statements were last week.

The ex-workers are accused of helping Madoff cheat thousands of investors out of billions of dollars. Their attorneys say they were duped just like Madoff’s clients.

Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence.

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