Annette Bongiorno, one of Bernard Madoff's longest serving employees, will have to give up at least $2.4 million and her husband's money for a judge to consider granting her bail on criminal charges, a New York court heard on Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain gave Bongiorno, 62, until Noon on Thursday to disclose to U.S. prosecutors the whereabouts of millions of dollars they say are proceeds from Madoff's decades-long multibillion dollar Ponzi scheme.
Bongiorno, who worked in the investment advisory arm of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities for 40 years until his December 11, 2008 arrest, is under house arrest in Boca Raton, Florida, at one of her two multimillion dollar homes.
The judge reserved decision on whether Bongiorno met conditions of her $5 million bail following her November 18 arrest, but left open the possibility she could be transported to a New York jail by Friday pending trial.
A U.S. prosecutor, Julian Moore, told the court Bongiorno's husband, Rudy Bongiorno, deposited $172,000 into his own Madoff account over the years and withdrew $3.8 million.
Bongiorno's lawyers argued their client obeyed court orders of home confinement, going so far as to call authorities on Tuesday when a power failure shut off her electronic monitoring device.
Every day strengthens the case that she is not a flight risk, said one her lawyers, Maurice Sercarz, arguing for her bail to be granted so she could be detained at another home in New York.
At the same hearing, four former Madoff employees who were arrested on criminal charges in the past year for their purported roles in the epic fraud, pleaded not guilty to a consolidated indictment.
Eight people have been criminally charged in the case, including Madoff, outside accountant David Friehling, longtime Madoff right-hand man Frank DiPascali, computer programmers Jerome O'Hara and George Perez, operations manager Daniel Bonventre, Bongiorno and Jo Ann Crupi, who both managed accounts.
Madoff, 72, is serving a 150-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to orchestrating the massive fraud. U.S. prosecutors initially estimated the fraud took in about $65 billion. A court-appointed trustee has put the amount of investor money lost at about $20 billion, considered the biggest investment fraud in history.
Friehling and DiPascali have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.
Separately on Wednesday, the trustee, Irving Picard, who is recovering money to repay thousands of defrauded investors, agreed to allow Madoff's wife, Ruth Madoff, until January 28 to answer his civil lawsuit seeking $45 million.
The deadline had been December 17, but the family is in mourning following the suicide on Saturday of her son Mark Madoff at age 46. He and his brother managed the brokerage at their father's firm and deny any prior knowledge of his crimes.
The case is USA v O'Hara, Perez, Bonventre, Crupi & Bongiorno, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 10-228.
(Reporting by Grant McCool; editing by Andre Grenon)