NEW YORK, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Annette Bongiorno, imprisoned financier Bernard Madoff's former secretary, said he was an excellent boss, in testimony in her trial in New York.
Bongiorno, 65, is the second defendant to testify of five charged with helping Madoff cheat investors of nearly $20 billion, in a trial that began in October. Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence.
In rambling and long answers to questions, Bongiorno said Monday she began working for Madoff in 1968, saying, I loved Bernie. I had a lot of respect for him," the New York Daily News reported Tuesday.
She said that when her father, whom she described as an "off the boat Italian" objected to her late hours at work, Madoff suggested she invite him and his wife to dinner at her father's home.
"They'll see we're nice people," Madoff said, and Bongiorno explained how Madoff charmed her father and mother, the Daily News reported.
She added that at work, Madoff had her enter information about stock purchases and trades, and that she never questioned any of his requests to backdate information. It later was revealed the trades were no-existent.
Bongiorno also said he paid for her honeymoon in France and found a nursing home for her mother after she had a stroke, even though Bongiorno could not find her accommodations.