Everyone knows Bernie Madoff could not have acted alone. We’ve paid lots of attention to the accountants who, knowingly or not, helped him cook his books. Authorities apparently suspect that a Madoff lifer, Frank DiPascali, who eventually became his CFO, might have known that Madoff was a crook (or worse).
Frank DiPascali Jr. joined Bernard Madoff’s firm a year after graduating from a Catholic high school in Queens, New York. Over a 33-year career, he rose through the ranks, eventually calling himself chief financial officer.
For investors like Tim Murray of Minnesota, DiPascali was a “street-smart New Yorker” who fielded calls about the millions of dollars he entrusted to the firm.
“To a Madoff customer with a discretionary account, he is the guy,” said Murray, 57, a real-estate developer. “There is nobody else.”
Now, U.S. prosecutors and regulators are probing whether DiPascali, 52, played a role in an alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme that led to Madoff’s arrest on Dec. 11, people familiar with the matter said. Victims include banks, hedge funds, charities and wealthy investors such as director Steven Spielberg and philanthropist Carl Shapiro. Madoff, who hasn’t responded to the charge, is under house arrest at his New York apartment.
Madoff often told investors that options trading was a key to his success. DiPascali, who is not charged, became director of options in 1986 at the firm and CFO in 1996, according to a resume he prepared in 2002.
“Mr. DiPascali is a blue-collar guy, not a Wall Street master of the universe,” said his attorney Marc Mukasey, a former federal prosecutor now at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP in New York. “He is devastated by the losses to investors.”
DiPascali, who grew up in the middle-class enclave of Howard Beach in Queens, now lives in suburban Bridgewater, New Jersey. He and his wife have raised four children. They live in a five-bedroom, five-bathroom house with a pool and cabana on seven wooded acres. They have two black Mercedes vehicles and a 61-foot boat built by Viking Yacht Co.