The woman who ran Bernard Madoff’s fraudulent investment advisory business broke into tears as she told a jury how the con man shouted and threw her out of his office for trying to retire in the mid-1990s.
Bloomberg's Erik Larson reports that Annette Bongiorno, on trial with four ex-colleagues accused of aiding a $17bn Ponzi scheme, testified Wednesday that Madoff 'went nuts' and cursed at her after hearing her plan to quit and live full-time in her new vacation home in Boca Raton, Florida.
'He went crazy on me' said Bongiorno, who joined Madoff’s securities company in 1968 as a 19-year-old secretary, during her second day on the witness stand. 'I was completely shook'.
The criminal trial, now in its fifth month in Manhattan federal court, is the first stemming from the scheme, which collapsed after Madoff’s arrest in December 2008 revealed the trading in his investment advisory unit was fake. Bongiorno is the second defendant to testify.
Bongiorno and the others, who spent decades as part of Madoff’s inner circle, say they were duped into participating in the scheme. Defence attorney Roland Riopelle has said that Madoff was desperate to keep Bongiorno at his company because her ignorance of the industry and willingness to follow orders blindly were vital to keeping the scam going.
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image: © U.S. Department of Justice