A federal jury in Manhattan has convicted five former Bernard Madoff lieutenants of helping to facilitate the massive Ponzi scheme that cost clients billions of dollars and shattered investor confidence at the height of the financial crisis.
The sweeping verdict—guilty on all counts—came at the end of a five-month trial, after only about three days of deliberations.
The defendants—including Madoff's former director of operations, his longtime assistant, an account supervisor and two computer programmers—were accused of falsifying records and lying to investors for decades to keep the scam going. It is the first criminal trial arising from the scam. Nine other defendants—including Madoff himself—previously pleaded guilty.
"These convictions, along with the prior guilty pleas of nine other defendants, demonstrate what we have believed from the earliest stages of the investigation: this largest-ever Ponzi scheme could not have been the work of one person," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement after the verdict.
The five defendants could each face the equivalent of life in prison, when they are sentenced in July.