Annette Bongiorno, 70, secretary to Bernie Madoff, was released from prison. She had been sentenced to 6 years in prison and had served about 2/3 of her term. She was eligible for early release under the new federal law, the First Step Act, which just became effective last week. Her advanced age was one factor in her eligibility for early release. At the time of her sentencing, the federal judge recommended that she spend her last year of her term at home.
During her testimony at trial, Ms. Bongiorno admitted to owning a Bentley and two Mercedes-Benzes. She also said that she had become frugal as she grew older, selling her Boca Raton home and downsizing by purchasing a condominium for $6.5 million. She had a $50 million investment account, a $300,000 salary per year, and the luxury of being shuttled to work in a car service each day. During her testimony she assured the court that the perks were not a means of keeping her quiet. She said that she never understood anything; she just typed what she was told to type.
Right there might have been a clue. Also, a secretary with three luxury vehicles might also have been a red flag. “I knew nothing” is a popular defense these days, in business and politics.