NEW YORK, March 18 (UPI) -- The accountant for confessed swindler Bernard Madoff was charged Wednesday with securities and investment adviser fraud, officials said.
A six-count criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission in federal court in New York charged David Friehling, 49, with one count each of securities and investment adviser fraud and four counts of making filing false filings to the SEC, The New York Times reported.
The charges against Friehling are the first against others in the investigation of Madoff, 70, who pleaded guilty last week to orchestrating what prosecutors say was the biggest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history but who has insisted he acted alone.
"Friehling essentially sold his license to Madoff for more than 17 years while Madoff's Ponzi scheme went undetected," James Clarkson, the acting director of the SEC's New York office, said in a release. "For all those years, Friehling deceived investors and regulators by declaring that Madoff's enterprise had a clean audit record."
The fact that Madoff's multibillion-dollar investment operation employed only Friehling's tiny accounting firm was a red flag to some investors, the Times reported.