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He had worked as one-time company director of operations and as an accountant for Madoff since the 1960s. He was arrested on February 25, 2010 and charged with allegedly having created false and fraudulent books and records, conspiracy, securities fraud, and tax-related charges. He is also being sued by the SEC for falsifying records.
Prosecutors claim that Bonventre used $154 million of clients' funds to help obtain a $145 million loan. He has also been charged with concealing over $270,000 in income tax between 2003 and 2007.
Another criminal complaint alleges that he helped to arrange millions in illegal payments and loans to Madoff family members and unidentified employees, some of which were used to purchase luxury homes.
In April 2006, almost three years before other investors lost their life savings, Bonventre emptied his personal accounts at the firm.
He may be sentenced to a maximum of 77 years in prison if convicted.
On February 25, 2010, he was freed on a $5 million bond.
On December 21, 2010, prosecutors sent a letter to Bonventre's defense lawyer, Andrew J. Frisch, demanding that none of the $820,000 given to him to defend the case be used. The reason for this is because the funds would be subject to forfeiture if Bonventre is convicted of criminal charges.