Bernard Madoff’s outside auditor pleaded guilty to fraud yesterday, but denied he knew about the swindler’s multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.
David Friehling worked on Madoff’s books from 1991 to 2008 out of a small office in Rockland County. He was released on $2.25 million bail pending sentencing.
“At no time was I aware that Mr. Madoff was engaged in a Ponzi scheme,” Friehling said in Manhattan federal court. “I never had contact with investors and never acted as a feeder to investors.”
He pleaded guilty to securities fraud, investment adviser fraud, tax violations and lying to the SEC. The charges carry a combined maximum penalty of more than 100 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines. Friehling, 49, is cooperating with investigators and expected to receive only a few years in jail.
He is one of three people to be criminally charged so far in the case, considered the biggest investment fraud in Wall Street history, including Madoff, 71, and his deputy Frank DiPascali, 53.