Eleanor Squillari, Bernard Madoff's personal secretary of 20 years
Dec. 17, 2008: Bernard Madoff, chairman of Madoff Investment Securities, returns to his Manhattan apartment after making a court appearance.
Bernard Madoff's longtime secretary said she doesn't think he acted alone in bilking investors out of nearly $7 billion and talked of her former boss' wandering eye in a media blitz Wednesday promoting a forthcoming magazine article.
Vanity Fair will publish a story co-written by Eleanor Squillari, Madoff's secretary of more than 20 years, in its June 2009 issue.
Squillari, 59, said she believes the disgraced financier won't cooperate with authorities in order to protect others, and he was a flirtatious man who frequented massage parlors.
Squillari told FOX's "Studio B" and NBC's "Today" that she thinks Madoff carefully orchestrated his arrest and that he's protecting others who might have been involved in his multibillion-dollar scheme.
She declined to speculate as to whom the 70-year-old Madoff might be protecting.
Squillari insisted she didn't feel betrayed when she learned what her former boss had been up to.
"I was very angry, and I wanted to help," she told FOX. "It wasn't about me, it was about people all over the world."
But she was completely stunned by the news of his swindle scheme when it surfaced.
"I was thinking, this can't be true, this must be a trick, somebody must be framing him," she said on FOX.
Squillari was asked what she would say to Madoff.
"After I stop crying? I would really want to know why he is not cooperating," she said on "Today."
Squillari appeared on "Studio B," "Today" and on ABC's "Good Morning America" to promote an account of her time working for Madoff that she co-wrote for Vanity Fair. She made the media rounds Wednesday with VF contributing editor Mark Seal.
"Nobody has talked about what was happening in the company," Seal told FOX. "It's all been unnamed sources."
Madoff's secretary spent two months helping the FBI gather evidence against the former money manager.
In the article, Squillari said her married ex-boss was flirtatious and made sexually suggestive remarks. She said she once saw him perusing the escort ads in the back of a magazine and said he frequented massage parlors.
"Once, I looked in his address book and found, under M, about a dozen phone numbers for his masseuses," she wrote. "If you ever lose your address book and somebody finds it, they're going to think you're a pervert, I said."
Squillari said Madoff often made sexually suggestive remarks.
"'Oh, you know you're crazy about me,' he would say to me. Sometimes when he came out of his bathroom, which was diagonal to my desk, he would still be zipping up his pants. If he saw me shaking my head disapprovingly, he would say 'Oh, you know it excites you,"' she wrote.
She told FOX that she didn't take Madoff's sexual banter personally.
"It was part of his personality," she said. "I knew that was just the way he kidded around."
But Squillari told ABC she had a nice relationship with Madoff, despite his ways toward women.
"So, what one person might perceive as inappropriate, I didn't," Squillari said. "So, if he made suggestive remarks, I knew it was only meant to be funny."
Squillari wrote about a conversation she had with Madoff years ago, after a client's secretary had been arrested for embezzlement.
"You know, (he) has to take some responsibility for this," Madoff said, according to Squillari. "He should have been keeping an eye on his personal finances. That's why I've always had Ruth watching the books. Nothing gets by Ruth," she wrote.
Squillari said she was surprised when he added: "Well, you know what happens is, it starts out with you taking a little bit, maybe a few hundred, a few thousand. You get comfortable with that, and before you know it, it snowballs into something big."
Madoff, 70, pleaded guilty in March to charges that his secretive investment advisory operation was a multibillion-dollar fraud. The former Nasdaq chairman faces up to 150 years in prison.
Madoff's attorney, Ira Sorkin, said Wednesday he has no comment on any of the secretary's allegations.
Squillari said the Madoff who was arrested was not the same man she knew. She said she was shocked and then angry after his arrest.
"I'm having a hard time getting past the person that I did know, who was so kind and generous, and I admired him," she told NBC. "I can't seem to get it in my head that he did this. It's like it's somebody else."
And she decided to help the FBI.
"I was very obsessed with going through my stuff and trying to help them find out so I could understand what had happened because I just couldn't wrap my head around it," she told ABC.
"I felt if that was making me feel better, maybe this information would help the investors understand," she said.
Squillari also told ABC that said she invested years ago but pulled her money out in the 1990s because as a single mother with two children and a "very limited income," she needed to supplement her earnings.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.