A former employee of Bernie Madoff who helped make up dummy trades to fool investors testified Monday that one of his accused co-conspirators showed up in his Manhasset driveway in early 2009 to tell him she hadn't fingered him.
Ex-trader David Kugel, a government witness in the trial of five Madoff aides, said Manhasset neighbor Annette Bongiorno, who helped him concoct the phony trading reports, showed up unexpectedly as probes of the 2008 Madoff collapse were heating up.
"She told me she went and spoke to the prosecutors and told them that the backdated trades came from the trading room," Kugel testified. "She said she didn't know where they came from in the trading room, that . . . she didn't point the finger at me."
Bongiorno, 65, a former Madoff secretary who is accused of supervising the preparation of phony account statements for customers, is one of the five accused in federal court in Manhattan of assisting Madoff's Ponzi scheme. Kugel pleaded guilty in 2011 but has not been sentenced.
The defense contends Bongiorno never knew that what she was doing was wrong or that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme. Prosecutors hope jurors will conclude she spoke to Kugel in hopes they wouldn't implicate each other.
Kugel, on cross-examination, rejected the suggestion that Bongiorno was an innocent dupe. "She did know it was wrong," he told defense lawyer Roland Riopelle.
In other testimony Monday, Kugel said he arranged five loans for himself and family members by getting Madoff to approve letters to banks overstating by millions the value of Kugel's personal investment accounts with Madoff.
He said defendant Joann Crupi, 52, of Westfield, N.J., prepared the letters.