Madoff Controller Pleads Guilty

Nov 15 2012 | 12:28pm ET

The former controller for Bernard Madoff has pleaded guilty to cooking the firm's books while Madoff was running a $65 billion Ponzi scheme.

Irwin Lipkin, who is 74, denied that he knew about Madoff's fraud. But he still admitted that he doctored Madoff's books and records, inadvertently assisting the scam.

Lipkin, who used a wheelchair at last week's hearing, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements. He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in March.

"While working for Bernie Madoff, I made accounting entries in financial records that I knew were inaccurate," Lipkin said. "These filings helped Mr. Madoff run the Ponzi scheme that harmed thousands of people."

"I would like the court to know that at no time before I retired," nine years before Madoff's fraud collapsed in 2008, "was I ever aware that Mr. Madoff or anyone else at the company was engaged in the Ponzi scheme reported in the media," Lipkin added. "My belief in Bernie Madoff's trading skills was such that I encouraged my own family to invest their money in accounts managed by Mr. Madoff."

Lipkin is currently free on $1.5 million bond. He is the seventh person to plead guilty in the Madoff case, including his son, Eric. Five others still await trial. Lipkin and his son also face a $9.2 million lawsuit filed by the court-appointed receiver in the Madoff case.

Lipkin told U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain that his plea hearing had to be postponed from September due to his ill health. He said he has been hospitalized twice and suffered a bout with pneumonia.

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