Meridian Star

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October 7, 2013

NYC fraud trial to begin for 5 ex-Madoff employees

(Continued)

NEW YORK —

"Suffice it to say that the government's investigation has revealed that, over the course of the multi-decade fraud alleged in the indictment, a number of Madoff Securities employees and customers — including expected witnesses, defendants, and others — were engaged in romantic or sexual relationships," prosecutors said in court papers.

The government said Madoff himself was engaged in a love triangle with one of the defendants.

U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain, a calm, thoughtful presence on the bench, has not yet said for sure whether the salacious allegations can be aired in the courtroom.

Yet, she has excluded much of the evidence of the lavish lifestyles enjoyed by the defendants as Madoff splashed them with tens of millions of dollars even as the Ponzi scheme grew closer to its abrupt culmination.

Jurors won't hear about Bongiorno's Mercedes or her vacation home or her shopping forays to pricey department stores.

As her lawyers wrote in persuading the judge to exclude personal expenses: "The government seeks to tap into the public's generalized anger at 'Wall Street Greed,' which has the potential to result in an unjust verdict 'fabricated' from the jury's emotional response to proof that is not tethered to any element of the charges against Ms. Bongiorno."

Crupi's lawyers made a similar argument, saying "whether she purchased a beach house or not, went on vacation or not, bought a deluxe refrigerator or not, proves nothing about what happened ... or what Ms. Crupi knew."

Still, the judge is allowing into evidence information about the beach house and a Caribbean vacation for another defendant because Madoff's firm directly helped fund them.

And the first trial may not be the last.

Just days ago, prosecutors charged a 77-year-old accounting executive, saying he directed others since at least the early 1990s to falsify records and help conceal Madoff's fraud. He, too, has pleaded not guilty.

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