SEC Bans Madoff from Securities Industry

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WASHINGTON - Federal regulators on Tuesday reached a settlement with disgraced money manager Bernard Madoff that prohibits him from working in the securities industry.

The Securities and Exchange Commission accepted Madoff's settlement offer to be barred from association with any brokerage or investment firm. The deal doesn't include monetary penalties.

Madoff has been jailed since March when he entered a guilty plea to defrauding thousands of investors who lost billions of dollars. He faces up to 150 years in prison, and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 29 in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

The SEC's complaint against Madoff accused him of conducting a $50 billion fraudulent scheme through his New York-based investment company. The SEC cited Madoff's alleged statements in December to senior employees of the firm that the business was "just one big lie (and) basically a giant Ponzi scheme."

Madoff was arrested on Dec. 11.

The scandal turned a widely respected investment professional - Madoff was once chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market and sat on SEC advisory committees - into a scorned symbol of Wall Street greed amid the economic meltdown. The public fury toward him was so intense that he was known to wear a bulletproof vest to court.

The thousands of investors who lost money included ordinary people, Hollywood celebrities and scores of famous names in business and sports - as well as big hedge funds, international banks and charities in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

The scandal also turned a harsh light on the SEC, which was vilified over its failure to detect Madoff's massive pyramid scheme despite red flags raised to its staff by outsiders over the course of decade.
     
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.

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