A former Bernard Madoff aide advised her staff not to tell people at the 2008 company Christmas party about cheques totalling hundreds of millions of dollars written to firm insiders as Madoff’s fraud was unravelling, a jury was told.
Bloomberg reports that Annette Bongiorno, one of five ex-employees on trial over Madoff’s $17bn Ponzi scheme, didn’t want other employees to know they were 'cutting cheques' for family members and longtime customers after rushing to close out their purported trading positions, Semone Anderson, who reported to Bongiorno, testified in Manhattan federal court. The party was held 10th December 2008, the day before Madoff was arrested.
Many of the checks 'were for clients who worked for the company', Anderson, who was a researcher in Madoff’s investment advisory unit where the fraud occurred, said in her second day of questioning by prosecutors. 'She asked me not to discuss what happened at the office at the Christmas party'.
The case against Bongiorno and four of Madoff’s other top aides is the first criminal trial stemming from the fraud, which the U.S. has said began in the early 1970s and grew into the world’s biggest Ponzi scheme before collapsing at the peak of the financial crisis. Prosecutors allege the checks were part of a campaign to spend the last of Madoff’s stolen money in a final insult to the thousands of victims they ripped off.
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image: © U.S. Department of Justice