Five former Bernie Madoff associates convicted of fraud

By Kyle Johnson,

Five former Bernie Madoff associates involved in his Ponzi scheme were found guilty on charges of fraud, a jury announced on Monday.

Back-office director Daniel Bonventre, computer programmers Jerome O'Hara and George Perez, and portfolio managers Joann Crupi and Annette Bongiorno were found guilty of securities fraud and conspiracy to defraud clients, a federal jury found after a five month trial, reports Reuters.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara released a statement saying, "these five defendants played crucial roles in constructing and maintaining the house of cards that was the Madoff investment fraud." He added that their actions resulted in many losing their life savings, so "now it likely will cost the defendants their freedom."

Others found to be involved with the Ponzi scheme, including Madoff, previously all pleaded guilty, making this the first trial over the investment fraud scheme, according to CNBC. All five could potentially face a life sentence.

The sentencing phase of the trial will be held towards the end of July, though there are plans to appeal.

Madoff himself is currently in prison, serving a 150-year sentence. The 75-year-old reportedly bilked investors out of about $17 billion of principal before being arrested in 2008.

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