‘Key Enabler’: Madoff Accountant Pleads Guilty; Faces 114 Years; Forfeits More Than $3.1 Million, Real Estate

David G. Friehling was one of Bernard Madoff’s “key enablers,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said today after Friehling pleaded guilty to nine criminal charges.

Friehling, 49, Madoff’s small-shop accountant, faces up to 114 years in prison, but has agreed to cooperate with the government, Bharara said.

“David Friehling was one of the key enablers of Bernard Madoff’s historic fraud,” Bharara said. “With his guilty plea, Friehling has taken responsibility for his crimes and will now assist us in holding others accountable for their involvement in Madoff’s epic fraud
against so many victims.”

Prosecutors announced last week that Friehling was expected to plead guilty to a criminal information that superseded one filed in July. It became official today, with Friehling’s plea to securities fraud, investment adviser fraud, four counts of filing false audit reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission and three counts of obstructing or impeding the administration of the internal revenue laws.

In essence, Friehling pleaded guilty to rubber-stamping bogus information supplied by Madoff and helping Madoff and unnamed others file false tax returns.

Prosecutors said he is “subject to mandatory restitution and faces criminal fines up to twice the gross gain or loss derived from the offense.”

The graphic below is a screen shot of a document provided by Bharara’s office in New York that shows the maximum penalties Friehling faces:

David Friehling faces these maximum penalties.

David Friehling faces these maximum penalties.

Friehling will forfeit $3.18 million, representing “the total amount of compensation he
received from [Madoff’s securities business] for his accounting and tax services, plus the
amount that he, his wife, and his children withdrew from their BLMIS investment advisory accounts,” prosecutors said.

He also agreed to forfeit his interest in certain real estate, “to the extent that those properties constitute, or were derived from, the securities fraud charge to which he pleaded guilty,” prosecutors said.

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2 Responses to “‘Key Enabler’: Madoff Accountant Pleads Guilty; Faces 114 Years; Forfeits More Than $3.1 Million, Real Estate”

  1. Patrick:

    What is going to be really interesting to me, at least, is who all will finally be indicted in this Ponzi. Never believed for a moment that Bernie and Friehling were the only ones. My guess is before this is over, at least 8-10 more just might be charged in the coming months. And it wouldn’t surprise me if it is not more before it is all said and done.

    Every time the Prosecutor keeps saying “unamed others” I bet there are plenty of people sweating bullets wondering if they are next.

  2. Nice lesson for all enablers of Ponzi schemes. I hope that there are other people in other prosecutions who are taking note of their potential liabilities (and the consequences)

    Whatever the treatment in the past for those involved in ponzis, it looks as if the times they are a’changin.