Jurors in the first criminal trial to result from Bernard Madoff's epic fraud may soon start weighing whether five of his former employees were his conspirators or his dupes.
A Manhattan federal jury could start deliberating as soon as Friday in the five-month-long trial. Closing arguments are expected to wrap up, followed by lengthy legal instructions and possibly the start of deliberations.
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Madoff has said he acted alone in cheating thousands of investors out of nearly $20 billion in a decades-long Ponzi scheme. But federal prosecutors say five back-office subordinates gave him vital help in weaving his financial fiction.
The defendants say they, like Madoff's investors, were fooled by a master at deceit.
Madoff pleaded guilty and is serving a 150-year prison sentence.