Daniel Bonventre, former director of operations for disgraced financier Bernard Madoff, is escorted out of court.
Daniel Bonventre, who joined forces with Madoff back in 1968, was accused of cooking the books to hide the multi-billion dollar fraud.
The former director of operations for Madoff Investment Securities , Bonventre, 63, of Queens, faces charges of conspiracy, falsifying financial records, securities fraud and filing fake tax returns and bogus SEC reports.
Freed on $5 million bond when arrested last month, Bonventre pleaded not guilty Thursday in Manhattan Federal Court on charges that could bring a maximum of 77 years in prison. He's due back in court April 12.
Others charged so far in the $65 billion scheme include the now imprisoned-for-life Madoff, his lieutenant Frank DiPascali, who is cooperating with prosecutors, accountant David Friehling and two computer programmers, Jerome O'Hara and George Perez.
"The charge is a prosecutorial Hail Mary,” has said Bonventre's attorney Andrew Frisch, maintaining his client's innocence.
Madoff, 71, is serving a 150-year prison sentence after admitting that he operated his scheme for at least two decades, cheating thousands of individuals, charities, celebrities and institutional investors out of billions.