Ex-Madoff employees convicted

A U.S. District Court jury finds five former employees of Bernie Madoff guilty of assisting in one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history.

Five of Bernie Madoff's ex-employees were convicted Monday after a six-month trial in a Manhattan federal court.

Prosecutors said the convicted former employees helped Madoff carry out the fraud that bilked investors out of almost USD$20-billion. Each was convicted of defrauding clients, securities fraud and falsifying the books and records of a broker dealer.

Exhibits and witness accounts were used by prosecutors to show how the defendants - Annette Bongiorno, 66, Madoff's longtime secretary; Daniel Bonventre, 67, director of operations for investments; JoAnn Crupi, 53, an account manager; and Jerome O'Hara, 51, and George Perez, 48, computer programmers - participated in the fraud.

Sentencing, which is set for July according the U.S. district judge, could range from 78 to a maximum of 220 years given the list of charges but are likely to be much less than that once prior records and other facts for each defendant are taken into account.

The massive fraud was uncovered in December 2008, when Madoff ran out of money and was arrested. Madoff, 75, who is currently serving a 150-year prison sentence in a North Carolina prison, plead guilty to fraud charges in March 2009 before a trial, claiming he acted independently.

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