Was Madoff’s controller ignorant, negligent or stupid?

Mike writes:

Enrica Cotellessa-Pitz, the former controller at Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff’s investment firm, has pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy, falsifying books and records and making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission. She worked for almost 30 years for Madoff and rose through the ranks from the bottom all the way up to controller of the whole company. In her plea, she says that she falsified books and records and created false trading documents to present to the SEC whenever the company was audited. While she admits that she falsified records and created false documents, she claims that she had no idea that any money was being stolen and that investor funds could be lost. There is absolutely no way you could be the controller of a company and not understand the ramifications of falsifying records to misrepresent revenue at an investment company and not understanding the subsequent impact on investors. She comprehended every aspect of the fraud and continued to perpetuate hit for her own benefit through salary and benefits she earned in her role.

Do you think it is possible that she could not comprehend the full scope of what she was doing?


About Mark P. Holtzman

Chair of Accounting Department at Seton Hall University. PhD from The University of Texas at Austin. Worked at Deloitte's New York Office. BSBA from Hofstra University.

One comment

  1. She knew what she was doing. Greed creates white collar sociopaths. If you ever get a chance to see a fraud presentation put on by former 'Crazy Eddie's' cfo, Sam Antar, see it. Often put on with a FBI agent co-pesenter. It's chilling. http://www.whitecollarfraud.com

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