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Ex-Madoff Employees’ Trial to Last More Than Five Months

A trial of five ex-employees of Bernard Madoff who are accused of helping the convicted con man carry off the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history is expected to last more than five months, a judge in New York said.

U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain in Manhattan today said jury selection would begin on Oct. 7 in the fraud case against Daniel Bonventre, Annette Bongiorno, Joann Crupi, Jerome O’Hara and George Perez. The defendants, who have all pleaded not guilty, are charged with crimes including conspiracy, fraud and falsifying records.

Taylor Swain said at least 400 potential jurors will be summoned, a pool from which 12 jurors and six alternates will be selected. Prosecutors in the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan filed a new 33-count indictment in October alleging the five were part of a conspiracy to defraud investors that got its start in the early 1970s. On May 28 the judge denied a request by the defendants for separate trials.

Federal prosecutors have obtained guilty pleas from Peter Madoff, who helped his brother run the firm for four decades, and seven former employees: Frank DiPascali, a key Madoff lieutenant; David Friehling, Madoff’s former accountant, and Craig Kugel, David Kugel, Enrica Cotellessa-Pitz, Irwin Lipkin and Eric Lipkin. Peter Madoff was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The other defendants haven’t yet been sentenced.

Ponzi Scheme

Bernard Madoff, 75, was arrested in 2008 and pleaded guilty to running the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. He’s serving a 150-year sentence in federal prison in North Carolina.

Swain today also agreed to relax some conditions upon Crupi, saying she would no longer was subject to electronic monitoring or had a curfew that required her to be in her home in New Jersey. Her lawyer, Eric Breslin, declined to comment on the judge’s ruling.

The case is U.S. v. O’Hara, 10-cr-00228, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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