Ex-Madoff computer programmer gets 2-1/2 years prison for fraud
By Nate Raymond
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former computer programmer for Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison on Wednesday for helping the imprisoned fraudster carry out his multibillion dollar Ponzi scheme.
The sentencing of George Perez, who worked at Madoff's firm from 1991 until its collapse in 2008, came nine months after a Manhattan federal jury found him guilty and a day before the sixth anniversary of Madoff's arrest.
U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain also ordered Perez to forfeit a symbolic $19.7 billion jointly with other defendants who worked at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.
"He must be punished in a way that's severe and commensurate with his crimes," she said.
Perez, 48, was the fourth of five former employees to be sentenced following their convictions in March on all counts, including securities fraud and conspiracy in the first criminal trial over Madoff's Ponzi scheme.
Perez told Swain he was "sad and tired," adding: "I'm terribly sorry for the role my work played."
Madoff is serving a 150-year prison term after pleading guilty in 2009 to running a scheme that cost investors more than an estimated $17 billion in principal.
Prosecutors said the employees knowingly propped up Madoff's fraud by creating fake documents and backdating trades. Prosecutors said Perez developed and maintained computer programs that enabled the fraud to multiply. Continued...