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SEC, Madoff agree to settle civil fraud case

February 10, 2009|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday announced an agreement with disgraced money manager Bernard L. Madoff that could eventually force him to pay a civil fine and return money raised from investors.

The partial judgment, which renders permanent a preliminary injunction that froze Madoff's assets after his arrest in December, must be approved by the judge overseeing the case in federal court in Manhattan.

The civil proceeding is separate from the criminal case against the prominent Wall Street figure, who is accused of bilking $50 billion from investors in what may be the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

Madoff was arrested Dec. 11 after allegedly confessing to his sons that he had stolen funds from investors for years.

Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to revoke bail for Madoff, who has been confined to his Manhattan penthouse under house arrest.

Madoff, who has not been indicted, is widely expected to eventually enter into a criminal deal with prosecutors in which he would plead guilty in exchange for some form of leniency.

The SEC said Madoff agreed to the partial judgment without admitting or denying the allegations in its civil complaint filed Dec. 11.

But the agreement says Madoff can't contest the "facts" of the complaint for the purposes of determining his obligation to pay civil fines and restitution -- which will be specified at a later time.

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