Annette Bongiorno, who joined Bernard Madoff’s investment firm straight out of high school and spent four decades in his employment, much of it as his office manager, was sentenced to six years in prison on Tuesday.
Fox Business reports that U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain, showing leniency and handing out a sentence much shorter than federal guidelines allowed and what prosecutors had sought, said Bongiorno was clearly not “evil” like Madoff, but that she “consciously avoided” the truth about Madoff’s fraud.
Bongiorno, 67, “willfully blinded herself,” Taylor said, and “chose Madoff’s blessing” over “her own moral compass.”
Madoff’’s massive Ponzi scheme collapsed in December 2008 at the outset of the financial crisis when numerous clients sought to cash out their accounts and Madoff couldn’t come up with the money to reimburse them.
Madoff pleaded guilty to a slew of fraud charges in 2009 and is now serving a 150-year sentence in federal prison.
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