Ex-Madoff aide JoAnn Crupi sentenced to six years in prison
JoAnn Crupi is seen exiting the Manhattan Federal Court house in New York on 15 December. Reuters

JoAnn Crupi, a former portfolio manager at Bernard Madoff's firm, has been sentenced to six years in prison for helping her now jailed boss execute his Ponzi scheme that stole nearly $20bn from customers the worldover.

Crupi, 53, was the last of five former Madoff employees to be sentenced after a Manhattan federal jury found them guilty in March.

US District Judge Laura Taylor Swain also ordered Crupi, who worked in Madoffs investment advisory business for 25 years, to forfeit a symbolic $33.9bn (£21.7bn, €27.2bn) jointly with the other defendants who worked at Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities, Reuters reported.

Prosecutors had sought more than 14 years for Crupi, who was convicted of securities, conspiracy and other charges with the other four.

But Judge Swain imposed a more lenient term on 15 December.

Swain said Monday that Crupi served as the "reassuring voice of Madoff Securities," enabling the "devastating effects" of the crime.

"She was compliant with everything and questioned little," Swain added.

Daniel Bonventre, Madoff's former back office director, was sentenced on 8 December to the longest prison term of 10 years.

Annette Bongiorno, a portfolio manager and Madoff's former secretary, received six years in prison, while computer programmers Jerome O'Hara and George Perez received two-and-a-half-years each.

The defendants, who are expected to appeal, have said Madoff deceived them into believing his business was legitimate. Their lawyers have argued that the five staffers were misled by a masterful liar and co-opted as his unsuspecting collaborators for years.

Madoff's brother Peter Madoff pleaded guilty in 2012 to his part in the fraud and was sentenced to 10 years in jail.

Madoff, who claimed he acted alone, pleaded guilty in 2009 and was sentenced to 150 years in prison for controlling the biggest Ponzi fraud yet detected.