Two computer programmers accused of aiding Bernard Madoff’s $17bn Ponzi scheme, and extorting the con man in the process, were seen by his secretary looking 'smug” as they left a closed-door meeting 'with Madoff two years before his 2008 arrest, prosecutors say.
Bloomberg reports that Eleanor Squillari, a receptionist and personal secretary for Madoff from 1984 until his investment firm closed, found the meeting with George Perez and Jerome O’Hara noteworthy because Madoff “had a very low level of technical sophistication” and almost always left his door open during meetings, the U.S. said in a 1st November filing in federal court in Manhattan.
Perez and O’Hara are on trial in New York, charged with aiding Madoff’s swindle. Their lawyers asked U.S District Judge Laura Taylor Swain, who is overseeing the trial, to bar Squillari from describing the men’s demeanor when she testifies, claiming it’s unfair speculation. Prosecutors asked Swain to deny the request, arguing Squillari’s observations are relevant.
The U.S. alleges that O’Hara and Perez in 2006 realized their programming codes -- which allowed the firm’s computers to 'spit out fake paperwork' - were essential to keeping the fraud going and demanded more money from Madoff to keep quiet. He gave the men $100,000 each and let them name their own annual bonuses and salary increases, prosecutors say.
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image: © U.S. Department of Justice