Bernard Madoff did not act alone: Accountant charged

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Bernard Madoff apparently had the help of his accountant in pulling off a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

Accountant David G. Friehling, who ran a two-person accounting firm from at a tiny storefront office in an office park outside of New York City, was charged with securities and investment adviser fraud, according to The New York Times. The paper said he surrendered to authorities this morning.

"Mr. Friehling, 49, was charged in a six-count criminal complaint that accused him of one count each of securities and investment adviser fraud and four of making filing false filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission between the early 1990s and the present," the paper said.

Friehling and his late father in law Jeremey Horowitz both invested with Madoff, which is odd considering the firm was supposed to be AUDITING Madoff's books. Why the former head of the local chapter of the New York Society of Certified Public Accountants thought this was OK is beyond me. Friehling's attorney Andrew Lankler said in an email that had had "no comment at this time."

The accountant does not seem to have worked very hard. According to Bloomberg News, Friehling did not come to the office regularly and when he did he was the only person there. His firm of Friehling & Horowitz was so obscure that it was a red flag to many sophisticated investors, warning them to stay away from Madoff.

Prosecutors are bound to pressure Friehling to provide additional information about Madoff and his family, particularly as they try to seize more than $100 million in real estate, cash and bonds from Bernard Madoff and his wife Ruth. This include jewelry and watches, more than $30 million in loans owed to the couple by their sons, and Ruth Madoffs' interest in real estate funds, Bloomberg said.

The key to the whole scheme may lie with the accountant because there is no way that Madoff pulled off the biggest fraud in history by himself.

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