Toomre Capital Markets LLC

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Annette Bongiorno, Madoff Aide Falls Under Suspicion

The Tuesday February 27th 2009 edition of The Telegraph (London) contains an article entitled Madoff Aide Falls Under Suspicion written by James Quinn. This article concerns one Annette Bongiorno, who served as a long-time employee to Bernie Madoff and who apparently was active in recruiting friends and associates from her former Howard Beach neighborhood in the borough Queens as investors in the Madoff investment scheme.

Apparently Annette (Argese) Bongiorno lived next door to Frank DiPascali, Bernie's chief assistant and self-proclaimed chief financial officer of Madoff's investment operation. She started working for Bernard Madoff Investment Securities sometime during the 1980s when there were no more than three dozen employees and the firm was located downtown near Wall Street. During those early years, Mrs. Bongiorno was Bernie Madoff's personal secretary as well as performing various clerical duties, particularly for long-time investors with Bernie.

In more recent years, Mrs. Bongiorno apparently moved to a house worth $2.6m in Manhasset, Long Island. Her husband Rudy is a retired electrician. One might reasonably wonder how a former secretary and city electrician might be able to afford such a relatively expensive property. Perhaps it was due to the compensation from running what were known as "RuAnn" accounts? What management fees and/or commissions were paid to this couple for the funds that their friends and associates invested with Madoff? Were those fees ever disclosed to anyone?

Bloomberg News reports that a number of investors from their old Howard Beach neighborhood appear on the customer list submitted to the bankruptcy court by trustee Irving Picard. The Bloomberg story notes that one Ann Casalotti lives in the same house that Mrs. Bongiorno once lived and that she was one of the many investors in the Madoff fraud scheme.

Other investors from that neighborhood apparently include DiPascali’s brother-in-law Robert Cardile, a longtime Madoff worker. Both Frank DiPascali and Robert Cardile now live in Bridgewater, New Jersey. The list also includes the estate of John Argese; Bongiorno’s maiden name is Argese. According to one "RuAnn" investor, both DiPascali and Bongiorno told his family after Madoff’s arrest that they had nothing to do with any wrongdoing. DiPascali said his own mother lost money invested with Madoff, according to that investor.

Toomre Capital Markets LLC ("TCM") is struck how every principal participant around Bernie Madoff claims that either they personally or their family members (or their trusts) were invested in the Madoff pool and hence suffered losses alongside other investors. These protests of ignorance and innocence as indicated by their own investments make one wonder whether there might have been some type of organized activity to protect the "feeder fund" organizers and other professional service providers should the Madoff Ponzi scheme blow-up. To Toomre Capital Market LLC's knowledge, every single "feeder" and accountant around Madoff has thus far used this defense. Does not this fact seem rather odd and extremely unlikely?

Annette Bongiorno, Jailbird

Finally!

annette and rudy in stone hill

I thought those comments seemed a little mean-spirited. Then I did some investigations and apparently they're right. Annette and Rudy live in a place frought with ex-cons: the judge with the scandal with his mistress and her daughter; a mafia king pin; another madoff senior employee (his son is the one who leased the car); a leading importer of fake designer bags who was busted by the feds; an ex con who was nailed and in jail for bid-rigging; the private eye who has a murky past and the list goes on.....as they say...birds of a feather flock together.....

It seems like Annette has

It seems like Annette has been hanging out in Boca at Casa dei Bongiorno with her other Manhasset Stone Hill ex con neighbors. Has anyone investigated Rudy's alleged "disability" claim. Looking forward to hearing more about Alita and how this one develops...

Well it seems like Annette

Well it seems like Annette and Rudy have been hiding out at Casa de Bongiorno in Boca with some of their other ex-con Stone Hill neighbors !! Looking forward to seeing how the drama unfolds with the Argeses, Alita, etc.. I hope no one starts investigating Rudy's "disability" claims.....ouch !

Bye, bye Annette

Thanks to the bankruptcy trustee, (see Looby report on Scribd), we now know that there were other employees besides Frank DiPaascali on the 17th floor who were creating fake trades for the benefit of 244 accounts held by Madoff family and friends. Those accounts had unusually high rates of return, 100% or more.

Just a matter of time before Annette is put away for a long, long time.

What's a "loss"?

I think you need to evaluate the claims of losses by the various "Madoff friends and family" in terms of what constitutes a loss. In the cases I am familiar with, there is no question the investors lost money - on paper. But if you look more closely and compare what they deposited over the years with what they withdrew, the picture is quite different. Many investors, especially those of retirement age, were living off the income from their BMIS accounts. One reason the Madoff myth was so compelling was that it was perceived as a low risk, medium return vehicle. Investors have told me they happy to be getting "only" 8-10 percent with security, rather than investing in things like hedge funds with a 15-20% return but high risk.

As for Annette, I expect the answer to how she afford that house is that she put her life savings into BMIS where it made her a lot of money. Certainly that was true of almost all the administrative staff who worked for Madoff. Annette was just luckier than others in that she withdrew it before the scheme collapsed.

Anne Bongiorno

Err...Bongiorno's hubby, Rudy the NYC Electrician, might have brought in the IBEW pension funds and Bernie might have been paying Anne a percentage of the money she and Rudy brought into the firm.

I didn't know Bongiorno got out before the shit hit the fan. Doesn't seem right to me but then again, I suspect Bernie's exit strategy is as complex as his investment scheme.

Let's ask Enrica Cotellessa-Pitz, Bernie's controller. Nope can't do that. For some reason, Cotellessa-Pitz's name cannot even be mentioned in the WSJ, Bloomberg or the NYT.

check it out ...rudy

check it out ...rudy bongiorno didn't retire, he collects disability and we the taxpayers have been funding all his leisure time to do whatever.

Lifestyle of the Rich

I was married to Annette Argese's sister-in-laws brother and spent alot of time with both her and Rudy during family functions. I always wondered how a secretary can afford the lavish gifts that were given to my neices and nephew. All the trips that she took not just her parents on but the entire Argese family. She always thought she was better then everyone else which I knew better since I knew where both she and Rudy came from. I guess you can't live off the money of others forever and expect to get away with it. I hope her family can still maintain their lavish lifestyle that they also can't afford without her...