Testifying in one’s own criminal hearing is typically considered risky, but that did not prevent Daniel Bonventre from taking the stand on Feb. 18 in attempt to clear his name of any involvement from the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme that sapped billions from investors.
A former aide to Madoff and one of five ex-employees currently on trial in a Manhattan federal court, Bonventre claims that he was totally unaware of any of the fraudulent activities occurring behind the scenes at the firm, Reuters reports.
Bonventre had openly refused to testify up until recently, but changed his mind earlier this week. When asked whether or not he thought Madoff lied to him, Bonventre reportedly said, “Probably every day."
The thrust of Bonventre’s testimony has been that he had no idea anything was going on, and that he was completely unaware of the Ponzi scheme until the day that Madoff was arrested. Bonventre also testified that Madoff had offered his family members special medical care, postulating in the courtroom that the goodwill was a way for the Madoff to further remove suspicions about possible fraud.
"I think he was a terribly ill man," Bonventre said. "It's difficult to reconcile everything I knew about him for 40 years and everything I know now. I could live to be 100, and I'm not sure I would have a better answer."
As of yet it is unknown whether the other employees scheduled for the docket will testify for themselves.
Bernie Madoff is currently serving 150 years after he plead guilty to defrauding investors of an estimated $17 billion. The scheme has had wide-ranging effects, including a call for more oversight in the financial space, and probes into the involvement and oversight of large banking institutions like JP Morgan Chase.
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