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Two Madoff aides indicted

NEW YORK – Two longtime back-office employees of Bernard Madoff were arrested Thursday on charges that they helped the disgraced financier dupe investors for decades by making fictitious investments – and that they cashed in on the epic Ponzi scheme themselves.

An indictment unsealed in federal court in Manhattan alleges that Joann Crupi, 49, and Annette Bongiorno, 62, “ ‘executed’ trades in the accounts of (wealthy clients) only on paper … and that achieved annual rates of return that had been predetermined by Madoff.”

Prosecutors, citing internal communications, say Bongiorno used a computer program designed to backdate trades and manipulate account statements.

Crupi, whose first and only job was with Madoff, was charged with creating false records to cover her boss’s tracks amid reviews by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Prosecutors say that as the scheme unraveled, she “became aware that client redemption requests bore no relationship to (the business’s) cash on hand, which by late 2008 was woefully insufficient to meet those requests,” the indictment said.

Both are charged with conspiracy, securities fraud and falsifying records.

The two women face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charges.