CrimeDivas

Female White-Collar Crime Divas-Mordern Day Thieves

Madoff Aides Convicted in $17.5 Billion

imagesCB1DHCQN      Just this morning I was discussing with an attorney my opinion about some information that was not, to my knowledge, presented in a case on television and stated if I had been on that jury I would have wanted to know that information before I made a decision. The attorney hardly allowed me to speak before he interrupted and informed me that the information I was referring to had nothing to do with the law of the case, but I beg the difference and still maintain my opinion about that needed information.

     Today as  I read more about the case that I am posting I noticed something about how people who work in the legal field sees things from a  different prospective and have a different viewpoint than most folks. I believe that has its good points, but also have an unbalanced negative side in my opinion. This is perhaps not unique to the legal field, but I also realize more and more people have very little or no empathy for others. In reading about these females that have now been convicted for their part in the Bernard Madoff scheme it is even more apparent our lack of empathy. We are in a legal environment where truth and justice seem to have very little to do with the law, but getting a conviction is the number one and perhaps the only objective. I find that very alarming.

      The case of Bernard Madoff was shocking to everyone in the world and more so to those that had invested in his company. This was not the first, there have been: Enron, World Com, Adelphia Communication, Refco, MF Global, Fannie Mae, Health South, Qwest Communication, and Tyco, just to  name a few and they will not be the last as long as power and greed is the bottomline for most corporations and many individuals.

     Today’s CrimeDivas are: id3Kco7RJcZsAnnette Bongiorno, 65, of North Hills, N.Y. and JoAnn Crupi,  52, of joannWestfield, N.J.

     Ms. Bongiorno was hired to work for Mr. Madoff during the 1960’s, when she was only 19; being  young and inexperienced when she joined Madoff’s firm explained her ignorance and eagerness to follow direct  orders. [I can see this and understand the innocence she had at that age, but over the course of four decades as she climbed the corporate ladder to become an executive assistant who worked for Mr. Madoff until the firm collapsed, did she remain innocent?  Not according to the federal prosecutors. As they noted that she was in control of accounts totaling  about $8.5 billion when Mr. Madoff confessed.]

     According to records, evidence showed that Ms. Bongiorno and her husband profited from backdated trades, including one in which she sold shares to the Lehman Bros.  shortly before the investment bank’s 2008 bankruptcy. Her salary and gains enabled her to buy upscale homes in New York and Florida and a luxury Bentley auto. Ms. Bongiorno testified in her own defense, stating that she never knew about the scam and simply followed Mr. Madoff’s orders. Ms. Bongiorno was convicted of all charges: Conspiracy to defraud investment clients, Conspiracy involving securities fraud and record falsification related to audits, Securities fraud related to investment clients, Falsifying broker-dealer records related to trading, Falsifying investment adviser records related to trading, Tax evasion for 2004, Tax evasion for 2005, Tax evasion for 2006, Tax evasion for 2007, Tax evasion for 2008, IRS laws obstruction.

     JoAnn Crupi had worked at Madoff Securities from 1983, until the scam collapsed. According to records, she managed several investment advisory accounts with a balance of roughly $900 million and was also responsible for tracking the daily activity of the bank account into which billions of dollars in investment advisory clients’ funds were deposited and withdrawn. The prosecution evidence alleged that Ms. Crupi profited from  backdated trades, enabling her to buy a vacation home on the New Jersey shore and also allowed charges in the  thousands of dollars in personal expenses to a company-paid credit card. Ms.Crupi did not testify and was convicted of all charges: Conspiracy to defraud investment clients, Conspiracy involving securities fraud and record falsification related to audits, Securities fraud related to investment clients, Securities fraud related to audits, Falsifying broker-dealer records related to trading, Falsifying broker-dealer records related to audits, Falsifying investment adviser records related to trading, Falsifying investment adviser records related to trading, Conspiracy to commit bank fraud regarding loans, Bank fraud regarding loans, Tax evasion for 2004, Tax evasion for 2007, Tax evasion for 2008.

     According to the records both of these women had very little or no financial experience for the jobs they were hired and held. [It makes you wonder were they prime targets to trained to do these illegal acts, being innocent of knowingly wrongdoing.  According to expert testimonies and persons who had worked at the firm that is not the case.]  A former U.S. attorney who had no involvement in the case stated, “People are expected to use their common sense and exercise their judgment  in determining what’s right and what’s wrong.” [Makes sense, but how many people really have common sense!]

     According to witnesses statements on record, Mr. Madoff firm was able to dupe the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and other investigators during audits because they banded together to do  late-night sessions to create hundreds of fake statements showing new trading strategies and to create fake reports showing their securities holdings. [Haven’t I repeatedly stated that committing a white-collar crime is a lot of work because of the need to keep covering the crimes.]

     After Bernard Madoff confessed of his crime on Dec. 11, 2008, it led to much criticism of regulator who repeatedly overlooked the scam. Mr. Madoff is serving 150 years in a North Carolina federal prison. Mr. Madoff claimed he pulled off the scheme all by himself, but prosecutors didn’t buy that and began probing Mr. Madoff’s highest-ranking employees soon after his arrest, as a result over a half-dozen workers pleaded guilty including Frank DiPascli, the company’s former finance chief who became the prosecutors key witness. Mr. DiPascali, who joined Madoff’s firm in 1975, when he was 19, told the jury that all five defendants, which included Ms.  Bongiorno and JoAnn Crupi, were involved in the fraud, which he said was “obvious.” He gave step-by-step explanations for how the group worked to trick regulators during unexpected audits and impress Madoff with realistic-looking fake documents. Mr. DiPascli is facing 125 years in prison, but is cooperating with prosecutors against all others involved in the case. [I find this interesting being that Mr. DiPascli plead guilty in 2009 and has not yet been sentenced. Sentencing usually occur within 90 days, not five years or more. I believe he is jailed. It will be interesting at the end to see how much time he will be given, if any more than what he is currently serving; even in light that he too is 100% at blame ].

           The five defendants were ‘collectively convicted’  of 31 counts for conspiring to use millions of fake account statements and false trade confirmations to trick customers into believing they owned shares in the world’s biggest companies. Instead, prosecutors said, the victims’ money was used to enrich the firm’s wealthiest clients, give conspirators exorbitant pay and bonuses and keep the Ponzi scheme afloat.

     Former employees who haven’t been charged also testified about the inner workings of Madoff’s firm, including a messenger for the company in the 1960s, a receptionist and personal secretary to Madoff for more than two decades. Jurors also heard from former office assistants who said they helped mine historical trading data to be used in backdated trades on customer statements without realizing it was wrong. [Could this not be the same for these two women?]            

     The Ms. Bongiorno and JoAnn Crupi, face as many as 20 years in prison on the most serious count of securities fraud.  Photographers: Louis Lanzano /Bloomberg

     You can help women like these and others who are unaware of the consequences of white-collar crimes. Join us as we reach out to spread the word to the world through CrimeDiva.

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