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Feds pinch two Madoff geeks

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The FBI has arrested two programmers in connection with falsifying records at Bernie Madoff's investment firm.

The pair, Jerome O'Hara and George Perez, had worked for the firm since the early 90s. They were arrested at their homes this morning and will be charged with conspiracy, falsifying books and records of a broker-dealer, and falsifying books and records of an investment adviser.

Preet Bharara, US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said: "Jerome O'Hara and George Perez allegedly helped construct Bernie Madoff's house of cards.

"The computer codes and random algorithms they allegedly designed served to deceive investors and regulators and concealed Madoff's crimes. Today they have been charged for their roles in Madoff's epic fraud, and the investigation remains ongoing."

O'Hara and Perez face possible sentences of up to 30 years.

They're accused of producing fraudulent monthly reports and client statements, as well as allowing other employees to alter computer programs in order to create false records and books.

The Feds allege that the scam came to a head in fall 2006 when they told Madoff they could no longer lie for him. He gave them 25 per cent pay rises and bonuses of $60,000.

Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years for his role in masterminding the fraud. US authorities are auctioning much of the Madoffs' jewellery and watches - more here.

The full FBI statement is here. ®

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