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April 17, 2014

Former Madoff aides seek to have convictions tossed

“(Reuters) – Five former Bernard Madoff aides have asked a federal judge to throw out their convictions, three weeks after a jury found them guilty of fraud and conspiracy for helping Madoff conceal his multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.”

“Former back-office director Daniel Bonventre, computer programmers George Perez and Jerome O’Hara and portfolio managers Annette Bongiorno and Joann Crupi told U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain that the government’s evidence could not support the verdict and that prosecutors had delivered inappropriate and inflammatory closing arguments.”

“While we generally have great faith in the jury system, we earnestly believe that this is one of those rare cases where the jury’s verdict reflects a grave miscarriage of justice,” wrote Perez’s lawyer, Larry Krantz, in a motion filed on Tuesday.”

“The defendants, found guilty after one of the longest white-collar trials in New York history, also asked Swain to order a new trial in the alternative.”

“A spokeswoman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara declined to comment.”

“Prosecutors had accused the five former employees of helping Madoff conceal his massive scheme, which lasted for decades and cost investors an estimated $17 billion in principal. Madoff, 75, is serving a 150-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in March 2009. He has claimed sole responsibility for the fraud.”

“Nine other people have pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme, some of whom appeared as government witnesses at the trial pursuant to plea agreements.”

“There was little dispute that the defendants had engaged in activities such as backdating fake trades and creating falsified documents. But the employees argued at trial that they were unaware at the time that they were doing anything illegal, blinded by Madoff’s considerable charm and ability to lie convincingly.”


Read full Reuters article here.

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