Madoff auditor's sentence gets postponed

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Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff's auditor, David Friehling of New City, has had his sentencing pushed off until Oct. 26.

Federal prosecutors cited Friehling's "continuing cooperation with the government" in its investigation of Madoff's $65 billion decades-long scheme -- the largest financial fraud in U.S. history -- in asking for the postponement.

Madoff is currently serving a 150-year federal prison sentence after pleading guilty in March 2009 to 11 charges stemming from the fraud.

Friehling, 52, an accountant, pleaded guilty in November 2009 to nine charges related to his role in helping Madoff hide the fraud for years. He had been scheduled for sentencing March 23. But assistant U.S. attorneys Lisa Baroni and Julian J. Moore filed a letter with U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein asking that the sentencing be put off for six months.

Friehling faces more than 100 years in prison but signed a cooperation agreement with federal prosecutors three days before he pleaded guilty, according to court records.

He admitted he helped Madoff fool federal regulators into believing that Madoff's investment funds were legitimate by signing off on them as a certified public accountant who had conducted a yearly audit of Madoff's books.

Federal prosecutors said that from at least 1994 through 2008, Friehling falsely told the Securities and Exchange Commission he was performing annual audits of Madoff's funds.

"Friehling had failed to conduct any meaningful audit," federal prosecutors said in court papers.

As part of his guilty plea, Friehling agreed to forfeit his home on High Tor Road in New City and his interest in a vacation home in Orlando, Fla. He also agreed to have a judgment of more than $3 million entered against him.

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