Five former employees of Bernard Madoff were convicted Monday in New York in the first criminal trial involving his decades-long securities fraud. A jury in federal court deliberated for four days before concluding the defendants knew they were involved in a Ponzi scheme. The group included the Madoff firm's director of operations, two trading managers and two computer programmers.
Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison, and seven others have pleaded guilty. Those found guilty Monday were the first to take their chances in front of a jury.
While Madoff claimed for years to have an investment formula that allowed him to provide reliable returns, he eventually admitted he used new money coming in from investors to pay off older ones. During the six-month trial, prosecutors presented evidence the defendants were involved in generating fake records to deceive Madoff's investors and regulators. Defense lawyers argued the five were victims who believed they were working for a legitimate operation.
[WSJ Law Blog]