PHOTO: Michael Rispoli and Suzanne H. Smart play Frank DiPascali and Annette Bongiorno, Howard Beach natives and confidantes of Wall Street swindler Bernie Madoff, in the ABC television movie “Madoff.” Photo Courtesy of Eric Leibowitz/ABC
By Michael V. Cusenza
If you caught the Bernie Madoff telefilm last week on ABC, you might have noticed that two of the tainted tentacles of one of the most nefarious frauds in the history of recorded civilization called Queens home.
Frank DiPascali, 58, characterized as Madoff’s “right hand man” and the chief financial officer of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, grew up in Howard Beach next door to the Ponzi schemer’s trusted secretary, Annette Bongiorno.
DiPascali, who also attended borough academic institutions Archbishop Molloy High School and St. John’s University, reportedly was recruited by Bongiorno, 67, to work for Madoff. He started in 1975, and remained a loyal confidante of the Wall Street charlatan until the music stopped in 2009.
DiPascali entered into a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney in August 2009, copping to 10 charges, including conspiracy, securities fraud, investment advisor fraud, falsifying books, mail fraud, wire fraud, perjury, international money laundering and income tax evasion.
He succumbed to lung cancer last year while awaiting sentencing.
Bongiorno was convicted in March 2014 of securities fraud, falsifying books and records, and conspiracy. In addition to a six-year prison term, Bongiorno was also ordered to forfeit more than $155 billion, including specific bank accounts and real estate, representing property traceable to Madoff’s massive contrivance.
According to the allegations in the superseding indictment, other court documents, and the evidence presented at trial, Bongiorno, an employee in the investment advisory business for 40 years, managed hundreds of investment advisory accounts purportedly having a cumulative balance of approximately $8.5 billion as of Nov. 30, 2008. Bongiorno also supervised employees who worked for the investment advisory business, and was for many years the head of the fraudulent investment business.
In 2009, Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison.