Top associate of Bernie Madoff dies before sentencing

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Bernard L. Madoff leaves US Federal Court January 14, 2009. (Getty Images)

Bernard L. Madoff leaves US Federal Court January 14, 2009. (Getty Images)

NEW JERSEY (PIX11) – The top lieutenant to Bernie Madoff, who helped carry out the infamous Ponzi scheme and then testified for the government at a high-profile trial, has died.

Frank DiPascali, 58, who lived in New Jersey, died Thursday of lung cancer, according to a statement released by his lawyer.

DiPascali pleaded guilty to crimes relating to the Madoff fraud in 2009, and was the star witness at the trial of five Madoff aides that led to convictions last year, although defense attorneys declared him as a liar and prime organizer of the sceme.

DiPascali had been free pending his sentencing, which in late April was postponed from June until September.

According to Newsday, a spokesman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who oversaw the Madoff prosecution and negotiated a cooperation deal with DiPascali, had no comment.

DiPascali’s death was first reported on the Forbes magazine website.