Madoff controller pleads guilty

Dec. 19, 2011 at 10:02 PM

NEW YORK, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Enrica Cotellessa-Pitz pleaded guilty Monday in a Manhattan federal court to charges related to her involvement in Bernard Madoff's investment fraud scheme.

The former controller at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC pleaded guilty to conspiracy, falsifying books and records of a broker-dealer, falsifying books and records of an investment adviser and making false filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said.

Cotellessa-Pitz, 53, faces a statutory maximum sentence of 50 years in prison, the Department of Justice said in a release. She is required to pay restitution and faces criminal fines, and has agreed to the forfeiture of more than $97 billion.

"The net proceeds from the sale of the forfeited property will be used to compensate victims of the fraud, consistent with applicable Department of Justice regulations," the release said.

Cotellessa-Pitz -- who was released on $2.5 million bond -- has agreed to cooperate with the government in the ongoing investigation of fraud at BLMIS.

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