Two former employees of Bernard Madoff were arrested in connection with the money manager’s multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme, bringing the number of people charged as part of the fraud to at least eight.
Annette Bongiorno, who recruited investors and helped run Madoff’s investment advisory office, was picked up today at her home in Boca Raton, Florida, Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesman Jim Margolin said. Joann Crupi was arrested this morning at her home in Westfield, New Jersey, Margolin said. Charges are to be unsealed today, the FBI said.
At Madoff’s firm, Bongiorno reported to Frank DiPascali Jr., who has pleaded guilty in the case and is cooperating with federal prosecutors. Bongiorno, who also has a home in Manhasset, New York, worked for Madoff’s firm for more than 25 years and helped recruit DiPascali, who became the finance chief at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.
Madoff, 72, pleaded guilty last year to fraud and was sentenced to 150 years behind bars for using money from new investors to pay off old ones in a global scheme that ran from at least the early 1990s.
At the time of Madoff’s arrest, his firm’s statements reflected 4,900 accounts with $65 billion in nonexistent investments, according to Irving Picard, the trustee overseeing the bankruptcy of Madoff Securities. Investors lost about $20 billion in principal.
Roland Riopelle, Bongiorno’s lawyer, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Crupi’s lawyer, Eric Breslin, didn’t immediately return a call to his office this morning.
Madoff’s ex-operations chief, Daniel Bonventre, and two computer operators who worked for the money manager, Jerome O’Hara and George Perez, were previously charged in the case. They deny wrongdoing. Madoff’s accountant, David Friehling, has pleaded guilty to helping Madoff prepare phony tax returns and is also cooperating with prosecutors.
Bongiorno worked as Madoff’s personal secretary in the 1980s. She also had clerical duties at Madoff Securities. Clients who discovered the wrong Social Security numbers on their statements were told to call Bongiorno, according to a copy of one such notice.
Bongiorno, who was raised in Howard Beach, New York, introduced her neighbor, DiPascali, to the firm in the 1970s, according to a former employee.
Prosecutors have been seeking to seize more than $2 million in cash and the New York and Florida homes from Bongiorno and her husband, Rudy, a former electrician with the New York City Department of Transportation. The couple is fighting the seizure attempt.
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