Jury Convicts 5 Ex-Madoff Employees Of Securities Fraud

A federal court jury in New York found 5 of Bernard Madoff's former employees guilty of fraud. They were accused of enriching themselves by helping the imprisoned financier carry out a Ponzi scheme.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a guilty verdict.

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WERTHEIMER: Five former employees of Ponzi scheme mastermind Bernie Madoff were found guilty by a federal court jury yesterday. The verdict came after a trial that lasted more than five months - one of the longest in the history of the federal court in Manhattan.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: The victims of Madoff's multibillion dollar Ponzi scheme have long insisted that he couldn't have carried out the massive fraud by himself. They said others at his investment firm had to know what was going on. The jury yesterday agreed, convicting two Madoff portfolio managers, two computer programmers and an operations manager.

Prosecutors had charged that the five helped conceal what was happening from regulators and investors in part by creating fake trading records. The defendants insisted they didn't know what they were doing was illegal and didn't understand the extent of Madoff's fraud. But under federal law, that didn't matter, says former prosecutor Michael Shapiro, co-chair of the white collar practice at Carter Ledyard and Millburn.

MICHAEL SHAPIRO: When you get involved with someone who's cheating, it doesn't matter whether you know he's doing it a lot or a little. As long as you have some inkling as to what's going on, you can be held culpable.

ZARROLI: The star prosecution witness in the case was former Madoff executive Frank DiPascali, who has already pleaded guilty. He's expected to get significant time off for cooperating with the government. As for the five people convicted yesterday, they will be sentenced in late July.

Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York.

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