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3 Madoff employees plead not guilty in Ponzi scam

Daniel Bonventre, an accountant who worked as chief

Daniel Bonventre, an accountant who worked as chief of operations for Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities Llc, pleaded not guilty Thursday, March 25, 2010, to complicity in Madoff's Ponzi scheme. (February 2010) Credit: AP

A former executive with disgraced financier Bernard Madoff's investment firm and two other ex-employees pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges that they were in on his massive Ponzi scheme.

Former operations chief Daniel Bonventre was arrested in February on securities and tax fraud charges accusing him of concealing Madoff's multibillion-dollar swindle.

An indictment unsealed on Wednesday added a new charge against Bonventre - who ran the back office of Madoff's firm for 30 years - of falsifying the records of an investment adviser.

Bonventre was named in the indictment, along with the programmers, who had been previously charged with helping Madoff churn out fictitious account statements for thousands of investors.

The three, who are free on bail, pleaded not guilty in federal court in Manhattan. They were ordered to return to court on April 12.

Prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission have alleged Bonventre knew that the billions of dollars Madoff was collecting from investors were not being used to buy securities, and that he doctored the books to hide the scheme.

The SEC says Bonventre cashed in on the fraud by taking $1.9 million in profit from bogus backdated trades that had not occurred. A criminal complaint also accused him of failing to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in income to the IRS.

Madoff, 71, is serving a 150-year prison sentence after admitting that he operated his scheme for at least two decades, cheating thousands of individuals, charities, celebrities and institutional investors out of billions.


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