Federal authorities have spent months trying to build a case against arch-fraudster Bernard Madoff’s brother and sons. Apparently unable to tie them to the running of Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme, prosecutors are now ready to move forward with the Al Capone approach.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan plans to charge brother Peter Madoff and sons Mark and Andrew Madoff with tax fraud, The Wall Street Journal reports. It is unclear what violations prosecutors will allege, but it is known that the three—all of whom worked from Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities—used accountant David Friehling to do their taxes.
Friehling was also Bernard Madoff’s tax accountant, and last year pleaded guilty to preparing false tax returns for Madoff and several other unnamed Madoff clients, as well as signing phony audits of the Madoff firm. Friehling is cooperating with the authorities.
Madoff’s sons and brother have consistently denied any knowledge of Madoff’s fraud. Neither of his sons have reportedly visited him in prison, where their father is serving a 150-year sentence.
Irving Picard, the court-appointed trustee liquidating the assets of Madoff’s firm, has sued the three Madoff kin, along with Madoff’s niece Shana, for almost $200 million, accusing them of using the firm as “the family piggy bank.” Picard alleges that Peter Madoff deposited just $32,146 into his accounts at the firm, but withdrew $16 million. Andrew Madoff allegedly turned $1 million into $17 million, and Mark Madoff $745,482 into $18.1 million, all through “brazenly fabricated transactions,” according to Picard.