Former accountant to giant Ponzi scheme mastermind Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty to fraud and other charges at a court hearing in New York on Tuesday.
David Friehling, a 49-year-old certified public accountant who served as Madoff's auditor from 1991 to 2008, pleaded guilty to securities fraud, aiding or abetting investment-adviser fraud, three counts of obstructing or impeding the administration of Internal Revenue laws, and four counts of making false filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Friehling told the U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein in Manhattan that he failed to conduct independent audits of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC's financial statements. But he insisted that he knew nothing about Madoff's Ponzi scheme, citing his own 500,000-U.S.-dollar investment with Madoff as proof.
Friehling faces a maximum of 114 years in prison on the charges. He will be allowed to remain free on a 2.5 million-dollar bail pending sentencing, which is tentatively set for February.
Friehling is the third person to plead guilty to criminal charges in the Madoff case. Madoff himself was sentenced to 150 years in prison in June, and Frank DiPascali Jr., former chief financial officer of Madoff, pleaded guilty to criminal charges in August.
(Xinhua News Agency November 4, 2009)