Two associates of Bernard Madoff have been arrested and charged with crimes related to their involvement in the disgraced money manager's scheme to bilk investors out of billions of dollars.
Annette Bongiorno and Joann "Jodi" Crupi, both long-term employees at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, were arrested Thursday and charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, securities fraud, falsifying documents and tax evasion, the office of the U.S. Attorney General for the Southern District of New York said in a statement.
Bongiorno, 62, who was arrested at her home in Boca Raton, Fla., managed hundreds of account for Madoff with a value of about $8.5 billion in November 2008, shortly before Madoff's Ponzi scheme began to unwind. She had worked for Madoff since 1968. Crupi, 49, who began working at Madoff's investment advisory firm in 1983, accepted clients' funds. She was arrested at her Westfield, N.J., home.
"Real Money in Their Own Pockets"
"Bernard Madoff perpetrated the largest financial fraud in history, but as we allege again today, others criminally assisted his epic crime," said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in the statement. "Year after year, [Bongiorno and Crupi] protected and perpetuated the Madoff mirage, while putting very real money in their own pockets," he said.
The indictments allege that Bongiorno deposited only $920,000 into her Madoff account between 1975 and 2008, but withdrew more than $14 million. Further, in addition to her salary, Bongiorno received more than $325,000 in off-the-books income.
In 2008, Crupi was paid more than $2.7 million from Madoff directly out of the firm's bank account that held investor funds. She also received more than $270,000 in income that wasn't recorded, according to the indictment.
Thursday's arrests bring to eight the number of people charged with fraud as part of the Madoff case. Bongiorno is to appear in federal court in West Palm Beach, Fla., this afternoon. Crupi will be arraigned later today in Manhattan federal court.
If found guilty, the women face maximum prison sentences of 65 to 75 years.
Roland Riopelle, a lawyer for Bongiorno, told The Wall Street Journal that prosecutors had indicated for about a year they would file criminal charges against his client, but he hadn't yet seen the details. "She intends to defend herself in connection with the charges," Riopelle said.
A lawyer for Crupi wasn't immediately available for comment, but previously said Crupi had no knowledge of the fraud.
Madoff, 72, pleaded guilty last year to fraud and is serving a 150-year prison sentence for using money from new investors to pay off old ones in a global scheme that started in the early 1990s.