The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Bernard Madoff’s auditors have agreed not to contest the SEC’s charges that they enabled Madoff’s fraud by falsely stating they audited the convicted fraudster’s financial statements in accordance with the relevant accounting and auditing standards.
On November 3, 2009, the SEC submitted to the Honorable Judge Louis L. Stanton, a federal judge in the Southern District of New York, the consents of David G. Friehling and Friehling & Horowitz, CPA’S, P.C. (“F&H”) to a proposed partial judgment imposing permanent injunctions against them. Friehling and F&H consented to the partial judgment without admitting or denying the allegations of the SEC’s complaint, filed on March 19, 2009. If the partial judgment is entered by the Court, the permanent injunction will restrain Friehling and F&H from violating certain antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws.
The proposed partial judgment would leave the issues of the amount of disgorgement, prejudgment interest and civil penalty to be imposed against Friehling and F&H to be decided at a later time. For purposes of determining Friehling’s and F&H’s obligations to pay disgorgement, prejudgment interest and/or a civil penalty, the proposed partial judgment precludes Friehling and F&H from arguing that they did not violate the federal securities laws as alleged in the Complaint.
In its complaint, the SEC alleges that Friehling and F&H enabled Madoff’s Ponzi scheme by falsely stating, in annual audit reports, that F&H audited Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC’s (“BMIS”) financial statements pursuant to Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS). F&H also made representations that BMIS’ financial statements were presented in conformity with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and that Friehling reviewed internal controls at BMIS. The complaint alleges that all of these statements were materially false because Friehling and F&H did not perform a meaningful audit of BMIS and therefore had no basis to form an opinion about the firm’s financial condition or internal controls.
The SEC’s complaint specifically alleges that Friehling and F&H violated Section 17(a) of the Securities Act, violated and aided and abetted violations of Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and aided and abetted violations of Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Advisers Act, Section 15(c) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-3 thereunder, and Section 17 of the Exchange Act and Rule 17a-5 thereunder.
For more information see prior litigation release no. 20959 and accounting and auditing enforcement release No. 2992.