Friday, January 2, 2015

FORBES.com THE MADOFF FIVE: History's Greatest Fraud Yields One Of The Greatest Legal Slugfests Of Our Time


THE MADOFF FIVE: History's Greatest Fraud Yields One Of The Greatest Legal Slugfests Of Our Time by Richard Behar

http://www.forbes.com/sites/richardbehar/2014/12/31/the-madoff-five-historys-greatest-fraud-yields-one-of-the-greatest-legal-slugfests-of-our-time/

Excerpts from the Richard Behar story( link above)
and images from the trial by Elizabeth Williams
    “What?! For Annette? How the hell did that happen?! Oh my God, I can’t believe Annette got only six years. Don’t tell me it’s gonna be like two months for [co-defendants] Jerry and George. That pisses me off, I’m sorry. I thought she was more guilty than all of them. The prosecutors must have been devastated. It’s kind of like a slap in the face to everybody who worked so hard getting these guys convicted, and for the jury who had to listen to the evidence for nearly six months.”
    — Juror Sheila Amato, on sentence imposed on Annette Bongiorno, a former top manager at Madoff Securities
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Courtroom deputy reading verdict in Madoff 5 case
    “Richard, these five loyal and dedicated employees were following the instructions of their immediate supervisor. They were not SEC-registered brokers and therefore had no reason to believe that they were violating any SEC regulations. They were always led to believe that the trades and the client assets were effected and held in Europe, as was common in our industry for this type of transaction. I alone am responsible for any wrongdoing on their part and will always suffer for the pain I caused my clients, my employees and their families.”
    — Bernard L. Madoff, to author 
Awaiting his sentence, Bernard Madoff seated in ceremonial courtroom ( same courtroom where the Madoff 5 were tried) June 2009


IF THE GLOVES FIT, YOU MUST RIDICULE IT

Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Southern District typically have a five-year run, at which point they jump to prestigious criminal-defense law firms. Not so the 37-year-old Schwartz, who became the lead investigative prosecutor of the Madoff Five case. He’s spent nearly twice that amount of time honing his skills there, on cases such as the JP. Morgan Chase/Madoff anti-money laundering prosecution and a lengthy tug-of-war with Madoff customer Jeffry Picower’s estate. He’s a graduate of Columbia Law School, which is typically ranked among the top five law colleges in the U.S. He also clerked for two top judges, including late Connecticut governor Thomas (“Tough Tommy”) Meskill, who was known for rarely walking away from a good fight.
Throughout this trial, Matt himself was a buttoned-up assassin in the courtroom
Madoff 5 defense table
AUSA Matthew Schwartz during opening statements


THE BENTLEY TAKES THE STAND
As stated before, the government’s main witness in the case was Frank DiPascali, Madoff’s right hand, who joined the company in 1975. If the jury needed a lifeline in this complex and interminable case, Frankie was it, as he fingered each of the defendants. If the jury believed he was telling the truth, they’d convict all five, perhaps quickly. If they thought he was a liar, as the defense went to great pains to try and show, then they might be deliberating a very long time. The five jurors I interviewed all say they found him credible, although Judge Swain—more on this below—had some problems believing him.
Larry Krantz cross examining Frank DiPascali
ACTION JACKSON KILLS IT
The most exciting part of most wars is the climax. So it was with the closing rebuttal by the third prosecutor, Randall Jackson, who colleagues have aptly nicknamed “Action Jackson.” Like an elephant with a propensity for china shops, he rampaged through his summation—sometimes upsetting the judge, and almost always infuriating defense lawyers, who rose and objected 42 times, which is about 40 times more than what is typical in a federal criminal case rebuttal. When it was all over, the courtroom had the pleasant atmosphere of a stalled subway train.

AUSA Randall Jackson cross examines Daniel Bonventre


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