US seeks $5 million from two ex-Madoff employees

NEW YORK, June 22 Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:03pm EDT

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NEW YORK, June 22 (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors on Tuesday said they are seeking at least $5 million in luxury cars, property and bank accounts from two former employees of imprisoned swindler Bernard Madoff.

JoAnn Crupi and Annette Bongiorno, who worked for Madoff for 25 years and 40 years, respectively, bought cars and invested in property with funds obtained from defrauded investors, according to complaints filed in Manhattan federal court.

Both are accused in the civil complaints of having knowingly participated in the fraud, but neither one has been criminally charged.

Their lawyers did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Madoff, 72, is serving a 150-year prison sentence following the collapse of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities in December 2008. He pleaded guilty in March 2009 to orchestrating a decades-long fraud that prosecutors estimated at as much as $65 billion.

"The civil forfeiture complaints filed today seek to forfeit additional assets identified as proceeds of Madoff's crime, and represent another step in this still active and very much ongoing investigation," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

Crupi, prosecutors said, was in charge of monitoring the transfer of funds in the principal Madoff bank account. Bongiorno was a back office supervisor.

Prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of a $162,604 Bentley Continental and a $90,000 Mercedes ML 500 purchased by Bongiorno, among other assets. The government is also seeking millions of dollars in bank accounts and property from both women. (Reporting by Basil Katz; editing by Matthew Lewis)

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