(Corrects spelling of Madoff in headline)
By Bernard Vaughan
NEW YORK, July 18 Five former employees of
disgraced investment manager Bernard Madoff should be sentenced
to "significant" prison sentences of up to 20 years or more,
prosecutors said in a court filing on Friday.
"The five defendants here, along with others, were the
people who allowed Madoff's fraud to succeed as wildly as it
did," prosecutors with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's office in
Manhattan said in the filing. "Justice requires that each
receive a significant prison sentence, commensurate with their
active and long-standing role in the fraud."
A jury in March convicted Madoff's former office director
Daniel Bonventre, portfolio managers Annette Bongiorno and Joann
Crupi, and computer programmers Jerome O'Hara and George Perez
for helping their former boss conceal his multibillion-dollar
Ponzi scheme for decades.
In the filing, prosecutors said that Bonventre and Bongiorno
should be sentenced to a term greater than the 20-year sentence
recommended by federal probation officers; that Crupi should be
sentenced to more than the recommended 14-year sentence; and
that O'Hara and Perez be sentenced to "substantially more" than
the recommended eight years for each.
The five-month trial was one of the longest white-collar
criminal trials in Manhattan federal court history, and the
first criminal trial stemming from Madoff's fraud.
Madoff pleaded guilty in 2009 to running the Ponzi scheme
estimated to have cost investors more than $17 billion of
principal, and is serving a 150-year-prison sentence.
During the trial, attorneys for the former staffers cast
their clients as mere puppets of a pathological liar who
bewitched them into becoming unwitting accomplices.
"They thought he was almost a god," said Eric Breslin, a
lawyer for Crupi, during the trial. [ID: nL1N0I727Z]
The jury disagreed, however, and found them guilty on all
counts, including securities fraud and conspiracy to defraud
In court filings, attorneys for Bonventre, Perez and O'Hara
requested a sentence of home confinement and community service,
or a short prison term. Attorneys for Bongiorno recommended she
be sentenced to between eight and 10 years. Crupi's lawyer asked
the court to exercise leniency, arguing that 14 years is "nearly
as bad as a life sentence," as she would then be 70 upon her
Gordon Mehler, a lawyer for O'Hara, and Larry Krantz, a
lawyer for Perez, declined to comment. Lawyers for Bonventre,
Bongiorno and Crupi did not immediately respond to a request for
(Additional reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Eric Walsh)