Former trader for

Madoff testifies

Former Bernard Madoff trader David Kugel yesterday became the first cooperating witness to testify against his ex-colleagues in the trial of five onetime Madoff aides in federal court in Manhattan.

Kugel, 68, who pleaded guilty and agreed to become a government witness in 2011, said former Madoff secretary Annette Bongiorno and former account manager Joann Crupi engaged in securities fraud with him, making up fake trades for customer statements.

He testified for less than an hour just before the trial broke for the day, and is expected to resume today.

Bongiorno, 65, of Manhasset, and Crupi, 52, of Westfield, N.J., are accused of aiding Madoff's Ponzi scheme along with former operations manager Daniel Bonventre, 66, of Manhattan, and programmers Jerome O'Hara, 50, of Malverne, and George Perez, 47, of New Brunswick, N.J.

Madoff's investment company collapsed in 2008, costing investors an estimated $19 billion. The case is the first criminal trial stemming from the debacle. Madoff is in prison in North Carolina, and is not scheduled to testify.

Suit accuses courts

of shorting workers

New York State courts in the five boroughs have been tampering with payroll records to avoid paying overtime to overloaded courthouse workers, a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday by the New York State Clerks Association alleged.

The lawsuit against Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman and top officials in the Unified Court System says court supervisors began "editing" records of when clerks clock in and out to cope with budget cuts, reduced staff, rising caseloads and a "no overtime" edict.

In 2011, the clerk workforce dropped from 1751 to 1488, the suit alleges, and the short staffing led managers to pressure willing workers to work off the clock while the Kronos system on which workers punch in was manipulated to hide the overtime.

The suit seeks time-and-a-half retroactively for all the uncompensated overtime worked in violation of federal labor law. Office of Court Administration spokesman David Bookstaver declined to comment.

Nursing home patient charged with murder

An argument between roommates over a curtain separating the beds at a Queens nursing home turned fatal, police said.

Police said Thomas Yarnavick, 66, was arrested on a charge of murder yesterday.

Police alleged he bludgeoned his roommate, 71, with a metal piece from a wheelchair at the Beacon Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in the Rockaways.

The victim's name has not been released.

Police said the two had been roommates since July. It wasn't known if they'd had any previous problems.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Yarnavick had a lawyer. He was in custody.

The nursing home issued a statement saying it was grieving and caring for residents following the tragedy.

The facility was badly damaged during superstorm Sandy.

2 killed, 3 injured in Brooklyn house fire

Authorities say two people died and three others were injured in an early morning fire at a private home in Brooklyn.

The blaze started at 3:33 a.m. Wednesday at the two-story house at 848 E. 15th St.

Police say a 91-year-old woman was found dead at the scene. A 63-year-old man was taken to Kings County Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Three other people suffered minor injuries and were treated at a hospital.

The two-alarm fire was brought under control about one hour later.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

No other details were immediately available.

Compiled with

wire service reports

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Marine vessel dedication … Feed Me: Outdoor dining … Roosevelt schools get new superintendent  Credit: Newsday

Long Beach tightens beach access ... Vaccine record fraud ... Marine vessel dedication ... Feed Me: Outdoor dining

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