Five former employees of the infamous Ponzi scheme operator Bernie Madoff were convicted Monday on a wide range charges stemming from what many consider the largest financial fraud in U.S. history.
"The employees, including Madoff's former secretary, convicted today of conspiracy for helping the imprisoned financier carry out the largest Ponzi scheme in history. Tens of billions of investor money just lost." (Via WABC)
After a five-month trial and four days of deliberation, a Manhattan federal court jury found three of Madoff's financial aides and two computer programmers guilty on dozens of counts ranging from conspiracy to tax evasion. (Via WCBS)
Bloomberg reports lawyers for the defendants unsuccessfully argued they were unwitting pawns in Madoff's fraudulent dealings, which cost investors an estimated $17 billion dollars, plus $47 billion in fake profits. The trial was the first criminal prosecution of Madoff employees since the scheme collapsed in 2008 during the global financial meltdown.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Monday's convictions demonstrate that Madoff was not the sole operator in the fraud. "The scheme these defendants helped perpetrate cost innumerable investors their life savings. Now it likely will cost the defendants their freedom." (Via U.S. Department of Justice)
Although the convictions may be justice for those bilked by Madoff's scheme, it does little in the way of replenishing the money they lost. The Financial Times reports only $6.5 billion dollars has been distributed to Madoff's customers from lawsuits and settlements.
Madoff himself is currently serving 150 years after pleading guilty to fraud in 2009, and eight of his employees have also pleaded guilty and cooperated with prosecutors. The five employees convicted Monday will face sentencing the week of July 28.