The Responsibility of the Accounting Profession in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme

by Molly Kruse, Samantha Lewis, and Brett Malone
Faculty advisor: Dr. Sue Cullers

The Ponzi Scheme conducted by Bernie Madoff defrauded thousands of investors of at least $18 billion. In doing so, Madoff destroyed his own reputation and was sentenced to a 150 years in prison. While Madoff deserved his sentence, he was not the only one at fault. Where were the accountants and auditors during the 20 year period that Madoff was conducting this fraud? Their duties of reasonable assurance should have prevented and detected such occurrences. Instead, auditors face potential legal liability for failures related to financial statement audits. Will victims of the Ponzi scheme collect damages from some of the largest CPA firms in the world?