Madoff “asked me to do the math to calculate the returns,” he said. Asked by a prosecutor whether his boss was good at math, the witness responded, “In some aspects, yes, in some aspects, no. He had trouble with long division.”
Kugel described the firm as “a friendly place to work” and prosecutors showed photographs of other employees at Kugel family social functions. But at times he looked upset as he recalled assuring his family that investing with Madoff was safe. And he had trouble blaming Madoff.
“I looked up to him. I admired him. He was my mentor and I believed in him. … I loved working there,” he said. “I’m mad at myself for not realizing certain things and doing certain things.”
When the scheme was exposed, he testified, the phony account statements showed that his daughter lost her $500,000 account; his son an account worth $600,000 to $700,000; his mother over $500,000; his brother and sister more than $2 million in a combined account and he lost more than $20 million.
Kugel testified that at various points Madoff had indicated, in truth, the returns were coming from secret investments overseas.
“Did you ever just ask him, ‘Why don’t you just say that?’” a prosecutor asked him.
“I didn’t,” he responded.