After a more than five-month trial, a New York federal jury found five of convicted Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff’s former employees guilty of fraud and conspiracy, Reuters reports. The group of former aides included two computer programmers, two portfolio managers, and Madoff’s back-office director Daniel Bonventre, all of whom were convicted on all counts.
“These five defendants played crucial roles in constructing and maintaining the house of cards that was the Madoff investment fraud,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “The scheme these defendants helped perpetrate cost innumerable investors their life savings. Now it likely will cost the defendants their freedom.”
The case against the five aides hinged on whether or not they knew at the time that they were participating in Madoff’s massive fraud. Bonventre and another associate took the stand during the trial, denying they knew about the fraud when it was occurring.
Just last week Madoff, whose admission of running a $20 billion Ponzi scheme acutely ripped through the Jewish community, was quoted in an interview saying he didn’t believe he had betrayed the Jews. “I’ve made more money for Jewish people and charities than I’ve lost,” he insisted from the medium-security prison in Butner, N.C.—which he said resembles a college campus—where he is serving the early years of his 150-year sentence.
Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.