Trader didn't let Madoff invest $15M lottery win
He may have been the luckiest lottery winner ever.
At the Manhattan trial of five aides to Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff Wednesday, a witness took time out from describing how Madoff manipulated trading records to hide the theft of investor funds to tell how a trader named Barry Fleischmann became a legend.
Enrica Cotellessa-Pitz cited Fleischmann's trading records as an example to show the jury how Madoff sneaked money -- unbeknownst to the traders -- from his investment customers into his other businesses.
Cotellessa-Pitz then recalled as an aside that Fleischmann had won $15 million in the lottery in 2007. He went to Madoff to discuss investing some of his winnings and earning the high and steady returns Madoff was known for. But some wasn't enough for Madoff.
"Mr. Madoff said he wanted all of it," she testified. "But Barry wouldn't give it to him. So after everything collapsed in 2008, some of us joked that Barry Fleischmann won the lottery twice."
Cotellessa-Pitz, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2011 and is cooperating with the government, continued on her third day on the stand to hammer defendant Daniel Bonventre, her ex-boss as Madoff's director of operations.
She has accused Bonventre, 66, of Manhattan, of overseeing the hidden transfer of money from investors to Madoff's trading and market-making businesses, and cooking the books to fool auditors and help Madoff cheat on his taxes.
Prosecutors contend that Bonventre and the other defendants helped Madoff in return for lucrative pay and other perks. Cotellessa-Pitz added a new one to the list Wednesday when she described the work habits of a Bonventre stepson named Jeff Ferraro, whom Madoff kept on the payroll.
"He would sleep. At his desk. Under his desk. For long periods of time. It went on for years," she testified. " . . . There was a general dismay among employees in seeing him sleep, often."
When she said Madoff was well aware of it, a prosecutor asked how she knew.
"I saw him look in on Jeff, while he was sleeping," she said.