Everyone knows that Bernard Madoff could not have pulled off a $65 billion Ponzi scheme by himself over a period of many years. What we don't know, though, is exactly how many people knowingly abetted this monstrous financial crime. But as time passes, more answers are emerging. The latest piece of the puzzle to fall into place came yesterday when authorities arrested two more people in connection with the scheme, bringing the total number of Madoff employees arrested to five. As reported in the New York Times,
Two former employees of Bernard L. Madoff, including his onetime personal secretary, were indicted Thursday on fraud and conspiracy charges related to his multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.
The arrests of the two, Annette Bongiorno and JoAnn Crupi, bring to eight the number of people charged in the case.
Federal prosecutors charged both women with knowingly participating in the Ponzi scheme by, among other things, executing fictitious trades in clients’ accounts to achieve predetermined investment returns set by Mr. Madoff.
According to authorities, both women made big money in the scheme.
The complaint alleged that Ms. Bongiorno managed hundreds of investment accounts that had a cumulative balance of $8.5 billion before the fraud was uncovered. Ms. Crupi, who allegedly tracked investors’ daily deposits and redemptions, oversaw accounts that totaled about $900 million, the complaint said.
The two women are also accused of earning millions from the fraud. Prosecutors said Ms. Bongiorno withdrew more than $14 million from 1975 to 2008, but had invested only about $920,000. Ms. Crupi is accused of receiving more than $2.7 million in payments from Mr. Madoff directly in 2008 alone.
Of course, the biggest mystery about Madoff's co-conspirators may never be known: How could they? How could they knowingly defraud so many people of their life savings? We're hoping that one of these people will eventually confess and answer that troubling question.