Bernard Madoff’s right-hand woman for four decades, who’s on trial for allegedly aiding his $17bn fraud, overheard the same lies for years about her boss’s wealth that tricked everyone else, a jury was told.
Bloomberg's Erik Larson reports that Annette Bongiorno, who ran the investment advisory unit at the centre of the Ponzi scheme, was often nearby when Madoff talked about overseas investments and ownership in French banks, Madoff’s ex-finance chief testified Monday in Manhattan federal court.
Madoff’s claims led some workers to believe he had invested customer money, said Frank DiPascali, who pleaded guilty for his role in the fraud.
'Am I correct that until the very end it was your personal belief that Mr. Madoff had sufficient personal wealth to pay back investors ?' Bongiorno’s lawyer, Roland Riopelle, asked DiPascali. 'Yes,' he said.
Bongiorno, who joined Madoff’s firm straight out of high school in 1968, claims Madoff tricked her into aiding the fraud by lying about his business and keeping her in the dark about the securities industry. Four former colleagues who are on trial with her have made similar claims in their defense.
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image: © U.S. Department of Justice