Jury selection begins for trial of 5 ex-Madoff employees

All five have pleaded not guilty to multiple charges

A U.S. district court has begun jury selection for the trial of five ex-employees of Bernie Madoff, including his former personal secretary, two computer programmers, an office worker and the company’s ex-operations chief.

The government believes all five of these five employees worked with Madoff to carry out the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history. Multiple Madoff employees have already been charged and arrested, including Madoff’s brother Peter and a company bookkeeper. However, these five employees all claim ignorance to Madoff’s scheme and have pleaded not guilty to all charges against them.

On Oct. 8, U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain of the Southern District of New York questioned about 300 potential jurors who filled out questionnaires last week. The trial was originally slated to begin on Oct. 7 before Swain delayed the proceedings by one day.

According to Bloomberg, this trial should give the public the most complete view of the inner workings of Madoff’s scheme yet. Thanks to multiple guilty pleas from people connected with the case, the public has only seen a portion of the fraud that occurred. Thousands of investors lost $17 billion in principal funds and even more in imaginary profit. Many are still waiting to have their funds returned.

The former employees set to go on trial are Annette Bongiorno, who Bloomberg says worked with Madoff for 40 years and helped recruit investors; Joann Crupi, a back-office worker who managed large accounts; ex-operations chief Daniel Bonventre and computer programmers Jerome O’Hara and George Perez.

These five were originally indicted on Oct. 1, 2012. They are charged with a litany of crimes, including conspiracy, securities fraud, bank fraud and tax fraud conspiracy.

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