Ex-director testifies to being far from Madoff fraud

Bernard Madoff, center, walks out from federal court Bernard Madoff, center, walks out from federal court after a bail hearing in Manhattan. Five of his former employees are on trial in November 2013 for aiding his fraud which stole billions from investors. Photo Credit: Getty Images, 2009

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A prosecutor tried to convince a Manhattan jury Thursday that Bernard Madoff's former director of operations was in the thick of his massive fraud, despite his testimony that he was far removed.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall Jackson made clear through cross-examination that he disagreed with Daniel Bonventre's claims that he was duped by his notorious boss.

Jackson sounded disbelieving as he asked the witness if he really meant it when he said he was blind to the fraud in Madoff's Manhattan offices during his 40-year career there.

"In all that time, you never saw anything that raised any red flags?" Jackson asked.

"Yes," Bonventre answered.

"By yes, you mean 'correct'?" Jackson continued.

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"Correct," Bonventre, 68, said.

The prosecutor repeatedly confronted Bonventre with documents to show he was not as detached from Madoff's corrupt private investment business as he tried to make it seem when he was quizzed for two days by his own lawyer.

Bonventre, among five ex-Madoff employees on trial on charges they aided the multi-decade fraud, has testified he was director of operations of Madoff's legitimate broker-dealer side of the business and was kept in the dark about the fraud.

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Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence after admitting bilking thousands of people of nearly $20 billion.

Bonventre insisted his duties carried no responsibility for the private investment side of Madoff's business just before a series of questions from the prosecutor led Bonventre to concede that he and Madoff's wife were the primary and secondary signatories on the account where the money for the private investment business was held.

The prosecutor also asked him why he didn't include the massive bank account for the private investment business in a general ledger that was turned over to the Securities and Exchange Commission when the agency conducted an audit in 2005.

Bonventre admitted that he used a company credit card to charge tens of thousands of dollars on trips and meals that were not legitimate business expenses.

And he said he did give some instructions on how money in the private investment business account should be handled.

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