Down Go the Madoff Nerds
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan brought criminal charges Friday against two men for allegedly being the technological brains behind Bernard Madoff's multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme, and suggested charges against others could follow.
The case against two former computer programmers, Jerome O'Hara and George Perez, may help fill in key blanks in the timeline of how Mr. Madoff, who pleaded guilty to fraud earlier this year, masterminded a scheme that has cost thousands of investors more than $20 billion. The complaint hints at other unnamed "co-conspirators" at the Madoff firm who are now being targeted by prosecutors.
Friday's charges shine a light on the kind of information being provided to prosecutors by Frank DiPascali, Mr. Madoff's top lieutenant in the investment business, who pleaded guilty to fraud charges in August. Mr. DiPascali is hoping to get a lighter prison sentence in exchange for his cooperation, his lawyer has said.
Based in part on information provided by Mr. DiPascali, the complaint says, the men were paid hush money in the summer of 2006 when they told Mr. Madoff they no longer wanted to "lie" for him. They allegedly each received a one-time $60,000 bonus and a 25% pay raise. That year they closed their own Madoff investment accounts, withdrawing hundreds of thousands of dollars, the complaint says.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said in the complaint that it found in Mr. O'Hara's desk handwritten notes made around that time that said, among other things: "I won't lie any longer. Next time, I say 'ask Frank [DiPascali].' " Mr. DiPascali's lawyer didn't respond to requests for comment.
Hey that's not necessarily evidence, I have plenty of handwritten notes on my desk, many of which might seem a tad suspicious. For as much as I tick off gibberish, mine might be suspect too, wtf?