The one-time director of operations for the Bernie Madoff firm was arrested Thursday for his alleged role faking records to help the $65 billion dollar scheme succeed for decades.
Daniel Bonventure, 63, was arrested at his Manhattan apartment. He had worked with Madoff since 1968 and became director of operations in 1978. In that role, Bonventure was in charge of internal accounting as well as maintaining stock records. Investigators have said no trades were ever done at the Madoff firm and investors were sent fake statements each month. Despite repeated warnings, for years the Securities and Exchange Commission failed to investigate warning signs of the massive fraud.
Prosecutors said Bonventure lined his own pockets as investors were ripped off. From 2002 through 2006, he allegedly took $1.8 million through fake trades. The IRS also says he is a tax cheat who did not report at least $250,000 in money he owed the government.
"Daniel Bonventure allegedly authored the fraudulent books that for years effectively hid the doomed state of an investment firm founded on fraud," said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
FBI Assistant Director Joseph Demerest said Bonvenutre "affirmatively fabricated basic financial documents to conceal the dire condition of a financial empire that was really a house of cards."
Bonventure's arrest comes as the FBI and IRS continue to investigate Madoff's sons and brother. Prosecutors continue to push for bail for Madoff's right-hand man, Frank DiPascali, who admits helping to orchestrate the scheme. But he is now cooperating and naming names.
Madoff's outside accountant and several computer programmers at the firm have also been charged.
As for Madoff, he remains in prison in North Carolina serving what amounts to a life sentence.
Reporting by Jonathan Dienst