NEW YORK (AP) — A senior partner at a New York accounting firm pleaded guilty to criminal charges Tuesday in a cooperation deal with the government, saying he unwittingly played a role in financier Bernard Madoff's "horrific and evil Ponzi scheme."
The firm executive, Paul Konigsberg, pleaded guilty in federal court in Manhattan to conspiracy and two counts of falsifying books and records. He also agreed to forfeit $4.4 million in cash and property. Sentencing was set for Sept. 19, though cooperation will likely delay the date.
Prosecutors said he was the only person outside Madoff's family to have held an ownership interest in Madoff's firm before it was exposed in 2008 as a gigantic decades-old fraud. He held shares in Madoff Securities International Limited, Madoff's London-based affiliate.
Madoff, now serving a 150-year prison sentence, admitted in 2009 that his claims to have managed up to $68 billion for investors were false because he had squandered or redistributed all but a few hundred million dollars of roughly $20 billion entrusted to him. A trustee has recovered or reached agreements for recoveries to pay about $10 billion to investors.
Konigsberg, 78, told Judge Laura Taylor Swain he sometimes agreed to return investor trading statements to Madoff's firm so information about supposedly traded securities could be changed. He said he based tax returns on the information, unaware the substituted trades never happened.
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