Madoff Key Aide Recruited Her Neighbors as Investors

Other News Materials 14 February 2009 03:40 (UTC +04:00)

Bernard Madoff's longtime aide Annette Bongiorno recruited investors from the neighborhood in Queens, New York, where she grew up next door to Madoff's future finance chief, a former co-worker said, Bloomberg reported.

Bongiorno and her husband, Rudy, a retired electrician, recruited and stayed in touch with investors in the old neighborhood who held accounts called "RuAnn," according to the employee, who requested anonymity. "RuAnn" is short for Rudy and Annette, the employee said. An account statement reviewed by Bloomberg News had the initials RU.

Bongiorno, 60, grew up in Howard Beach next to Frank DiPascali, a 33-year Madoff veteran who called himself chief financial officer. The families lived across from the Lindenwood Gardens co-ops, which bear the sign: "A Suburb in a City."

"They were friends, like neighbors would be," said Ann Casalotti, a resident of the red-brick, two-family house where Annette Bongiorno once lived next to DiPascali. Casalotti was one of thousands of Madoff customers whose name appeared on a list prepared for Irving Picard, the trustee who is liquidating the firm.

Madoff, 70, was arrested Dec. 11 and charged with securities fraud after allegedly confessing to running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme in which early investors were paid with money from later participants. Madoff, who is under house arrest in his New York apartment, hasn't formally responded to the charge.