David Friehling, the accountant whose firm signed off on audits of Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff, has pleaded guilty to essentially rubberstamping his clients financials.
Friehling, partnered with the late Jerome Horowitz, his father-in-law and Madoffs longtime accountant, in the three-person accounting firm, Friehling & Horowitz, based in New City, N.Y. Horowitz retired to Florida in the early 1990s, and died on the same day in March that Madoff pled guilty. Madoff is currently serving a 150-year prison sentence.
Friehling pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of securities fraud and investment advisor fraud, four counts of making false filings to the SEC, and three counts of obstructing federal tax laws and the IRS. In July he had pled not guilty to lesser fraud charges (see Madoff Accountant Pleads Not Guilty). He also had a partial settlement of civil fraud charges with the SEC, but the penalties, fines and interest have yet to be set.
The former CPA said he was unaware that Madoff was involved in a Ponzi scheme.
Madoffs CFO, Frank DiPascali, pleaded guilty in August to 10 criminal charges, and faces up to 125 years in prison.
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