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No jail time for 2 men who cooperated in Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff case

Attorney Barry Agulnick, left, and his client Craig

Attorney Barry Agulnick, left, and his client Craig Kugel, a former human resources employee at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, leave federal court after a sentencing hearing in Manhattan on Thursday, May 28, 2015. Credit: Bloomberg News / Louis Lanzano

Two more men who worked for Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff and later helped prosecutors unravel his massive fraud escaped jail time at their sentencings in federal court in Manhattan on Thursday.

David Friehling, 55, of New City, a Madoff accountant, and Craig Kugel, 41, of Port Washington, who worked in human resources, became the fourth and fifth cooperators to get leniency from Manhattan U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain during the last two weeks.

Both men said they didn't know Madoff's operation was a Ponzi scheme, testified against five other Madoff aides who were convicted after trial in 2014, and were praised by prosecutors for their assistance.

Friehling recalled for Swain trial testimony about a conversation in which Madoff and another aide discussed whether Friehling was in on the fraud or just dumb, and Madoff said he was just dumb.

"I'd rather be dumb than crooked," Friehling told the judge, who sentenced him to 12 months of home detention and 250 hours of community service.

Kugel pleaded guilty to tax fraud and false statements charges in 2009, for enrolling nonemployees in Madoff's health care plan and using a company credit card for personal expenses.

Swain put him on probation for two years, but did not impose any home confinement or community service.

Kugel's father, David, a senior trader for Madoff who pleaded guilty to helping create phony trading records and became a cooperator, was sentenced to 10 months of home confinement this week. Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence.

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