Bernard Madoff’s top bookkeeper will plead guilty to fraud charges next week, becoming the sixth person to do so in the $65 billion Ponzi scheme.
Enrica Cotellessa-Pitz, who is cooperating with prosecutors and who has yet to be formally charged, will admit to falsifying records and making false filings to government regulators, prosecutors said yesterday. Cotellessa-Pitz served as controller of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, where she began working in 1978.
In her role at the firm, Cotellessa-Pitz closed the books each month—but she also moved hundreds of millions of dollars between Madoff’s legitimate trading operations and his fraudulent hedge fund operation, according to a lawsuit against Cotellessa-Pitz filed by the court-appointed receiver in the Madoff case. According to the receiver, Irving Picard, Cotellessa-Pitz and her husband withdrew some $500,000 in phony profits from phony investment accounts.
According to Picard’s lawsuit, Cotellessa-Pitz was involved in a romantic relationship with Madoff’s CFO, Frank DiPascali, who has pleaded guilty in the case. She is also a close friend of Madoff’s former secretary, Annette Bongiorno, who has been charged with falsifying account statements. Bongiorno is one of five people charged in the case to fight the charges against them.
Cotellessa-Pitz is expected to enter her plea on Monday.