Testimony Continued In Fraud Trial Of 5 Former Madoff Employees

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)The trial against five of Bernard Madoff’s former employees continued Wednesday with testimony from consultants who investigated the firm following Madoff’s arrest.

As WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported, the jury was transported inside Bernie Madoff’s Midtown office through a series of photographs as witness Meaghan Schmidt took the stand.

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She was part of a team hired to help unravel the Ponzi scheme after Madoff was arrested.

The images displayed for the jury showed Madoff’s all black office decor, desks covered in papers, leather chairs and bright modern artwork on the walls.

Schmidt testified she had found a stack of 100 checks on Madoff’s desk totaling $175 million.

He was trying to cash out family, friends and favorite investors before the collapse, Cornell reported.

One check worth $8.2 million was written to the wife of his brother, Peter Madoff.

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Schmidt testified that frantic redemption requests faxed in from hundreds of investors who panicked after Madoff’s arrest were left on the office fax machine, unanswered.

Annette Bongiorno, Madoff’s longtime secretary; Daniel Bonventre, his director of operations for investments; JoAnn Crupi, an account manager; and computer programmers Jerome O’Hara and George Perez – have all pleaded not guilty, claiming they were unaware Madoff was running an epic fraud.

Schmidt testified that Bonventre had suspicions about wrongdoing, the Daily News reported.

A second witness who testified Wednesday said Perez admitted after Madoff’s arrest that he had been paid off when he raised concerns about changing account statements, according to the Daily News.

The fraud trial is expected to last five months.

Madoff, who pleaded guilty in 2009, is currently serving at 150-year prison sentence for running the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

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