In an opinion filed late on Friday, U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor
Swain in Manhattan federal court granted Daniel Bonventre's motion
to dismiss the counts, which charged him with violating federal law
by causing false documents to be filed with the Department of Labor.
However, Swain denied motions from Bonventre and from two other
defendants, portfolio manager Annette Bongiorno and Joann Crupi, to
dismiss a number of other counts related to alleged tax violations.
The lengthy trial, which began in October, is expected to end within
the next two weeks. The five defendants, who also include former
computer programmers Jerome O'Hara and George Perez, have said they
were duped by Madoff into believing the business was legitimate.
Madoff pleaded guilty and is serving a 150-year sentence for the
fraud, which cost investors an estimated $17 billion in principal
Prosecutors had accused Bonventre, the firm's back-office director
of operations, of arranging for his son Daniel to be put on the
payroll despite living in Los Angeles so he could receive health
Bonventre testified this week that his son was hired to work
part-time on "social media" for the firm, though prosecutors dispute
The charges in question require the government to show that
Bonventre intended that a false document, known as Form 5500, would
be filed showing that his son was a firm employee.
Swain, however, said prosecutors had failed to demonstrate that
Bonventre knew about the form, which was actually filed by Craig
Kugel, another Madoff employee who has pleaded guilty and testified
at trial for the government. A rational jury, she concluded, could
not find him guilty of those violations.
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"There is no evidence that Mr. Bonventre directed Mr. Kugel to
prepare or file that form, much less to include any particular
information in the filing," Swain wrote. "Indeed, there is no
evidence that Mr. Bonventre ever reviewed or participated in the
preparation or filing of any Form 5500.
The U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan declined to comment, as did
Bonventre's lawyer, Andrew Frisch.
Bonventre, Bongiorno and Crupi had also sought to dismiss several
other charges related to various tax crimes, but the judge rejected
those requests, finding that the government had introduced enough
evidence to support the allegations.
"It's clear the judge took the motion very seriously," said
Bongiorno's lawyer, Roland Riopelle. "While I disagree with her
ruling, I find absolutely no fault with her efforts."
Crupi's lawyer, Eric Breslin, did not immediately respond to a
request for comment.
The trial continues on Monday. The case is USA v. O'Hara et al, U.S.
District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 10-cr-0228.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; editing by G
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