US attorney: Madoff employee to plead guilty in NY

AP News
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Posted: Dec 15, 2011 6:23 PM
US attorney: Madoff employee to plead guilty in NY

Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff's former controller will plead guilty next week to conspiracy charges in connection with the largest Ponzi scheme in history, federal prosecutors revealed Thursday.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a letter to a judge that Enrica Cotellessa-Pitz will plead guilty at a court appearance scheduled for Monday. The letter said the charges include a conspiracy to falsify records in a fraud that started in the early 1970s and ran through December 2008. The letter also said she was cooperating.

Cotellessa-Pitz was the controller at Madoff's firm. Her lawyer didn't immediately return a call for comment.

Madoff pleaded guilty in 2009 to stealing billions through the fraud and says he acted alone. He's serving a 150-year prison sentence in Butner, N.C.

In the letter, prosecutors said Cotellessa-Pitz will admit that she conspired to falsify records of a broker-dealer, falsify records of an investment adviser, make false filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and obstruct and impede the Internal Revenue Service.

They said she joined with others to create false books and records for Madoff's private investment business and faked documents in connection with an SEC audit and with tax audits.

The charges carry a potential prison term of up to 50 years, though cooperation usually results in leniency.