A former accountant for convicted Ponzi-schemer Bernard Madoff, along with several of his wealthiest clients, pleaded guilty Tuesday to contributing to the financier’s massive fraud.
Paul Konigsberg, 78, an accountant and lawyer, admitted in federal court in Manhattan that he knowingly assisted Madoff in backdating trades on their mutual clients’ annual account statements and filing false tax returns. Multiple news outlets have reported that Konigsberg told a federal judge on Tuesday that he knew that his actions were illegal, though he did not realize at the time the extent of Madoff’s epic Ponzi scheme and the suffering it would cause.
Konigsberg pleaded guilty to two counts of falsifying books and records and one count of conspiracy, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. In addition to receiving payments from the clients Madoff sent his way, the accountant also received monthly payments of as much as $25,000 from Madoff’s hedge fund for more than a decade, the government says.
Konigsberg has agreed to cooperate with the government in its ongoing investigation of Madoff Securities and will forfeit $4.4 million in illegal profits to compensate victims of Madoff’s scheme. He also faces up to 30 years in prison and additional criminal fines.
Madoff pleaded guilty in connection with the fraud in 2009 and is currently serving a 150-year prison term. Madoff’s personal accountant, David Friehling also pleaded guilty to assisting Madoff five years ago before testifying against his former boss.