Madoff’s accountant is charged with fraud

Federal authorities arrested financier Bernard Madoff’s accountant Wednesday on charges of securities fraud, the first person besides Madoff to be charged in the $65 billion investment scandal.

In a complaint filed by the U.S. attorney’s office in New York, David G. Friehling, 49, was charged with securities fraud, aiding an investment adviser fraud and four counts of filing false audit reports with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

In a related action, the SEC filed a civil lawsuit alleging that Friehling engaged in securities fraud.

Friehling, who lives in Rockland County, outside New York, was released Wednesday afternoon on $2.5 million bail after a brief hearing.

If convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum sentence of 105 years in prison, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.