Ex-Madoff aide on trial in N.Y. wins dismissal of two counts

Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:05pm EST
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By Joseph Ax

NEW YORK (Reuters) - One of five former Bernard Madoff aides on trial for abetting his massive Ponzi scheme will face two fewer counts when the case goes to a jury, after a judge agreed to throw out charges that he arranged for his son to get a no-show job at the firm.

In an opinion filed late on Friday, U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain in Manhattan federal court granted Daniel Bonventre's motion to dismiss the counts, which charged him with violating federal law by causing false documents to be filed with the Department of Labor.

However, Swain denied motions from Bonventre and from two other defendants, portfolio manager Annette Bongiorno and Joann Crupi, to dismiss a number of other counts related to alleged tax violations.

The lengthy trial, which began in October, is expected to end within the next two weeks. The five defendants, who also include former computer programmers Jerome O'Hara and George Perez, have said they were duped by Madoff into believing the business was legitimate.

Madoff pleaded guilty and is serving a 150-year sentence for the fraud, which cost investors an estimated $17 billion in principal losses.

Prosecutors had accused Bonventre, the firm's back-office director of operations, of arranging for his son Daniel to be put on the payroll despite living in Los Angeles so he could receive health benefits.

Bonventre testified this week that his son was hired to work part-time on "social media" for the firm, though prosecutors dispute that account.

The charges in question require the government to show that Bonventre intended that a false document, known as Form 5500, would be filed showing that his son was a firm employee.   Continued...

Daniel Bonventre, former back-office director for Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, exits Manhattan Federal Courthouse in New York February 18, 2014. REUTERS/Eric Thayer