The former accountant who signed off the audits of Bernard Madoff’s firm for decades became the fourth person tied to the $17.5 billion fraud to avoid prison after aiding prosecutors. According to a report by Bloomberg, David Friehling, who also helped the Madoff family with their bogus personal tax filings, faced a prison term of as long as 114 years for his role in the scam.
Friehling was sentenced Thursday to two years’ probation, including a year under house arrest, and ordered to perform 250 hours of community service.
The judge said Friehling’s “complete abdication of his duties” helped Madoff ruin the lives of thousands of clients, but that his testimony at trial was “crucial.”
Before the sentence was handed down, Friehling read a statement in which he apologized to the victims, including his 90-year-old father, his mother-in-law, his siblings and his nieces and nephews, all of whom lost their life savings in the scheme.
He said he never conducted a real audit of Madoff’s firm because he always took the con man at his word.