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SEC bans three ex-Madoff employees from securities industry

By Suzanne Barlyn

(Reuters) - The Securities and Exchange Commission has barred three former employees of Bernard Madoff's now defunct brokerage and investment advisory firm from the securities industry for assisting the convicted Ponzi schemer with his multi-billion dollar scam, according to orders from the agency.

The SEC released orders late Thursday permanently barring David Kugel, Eric Lipkin and Enrica Cotellessa-Pitz. The three former employees of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC each agreed to the sanction to settle civil proceedings started by the agency in 2011.

Lipkin's lawyer declined to comment, while Cotellessa-Pitz's lawyer did not immediately return a call requesting comment. Kugel could not immediately be reached for comment.

In 2011, the three pleaded guilty in related criminal cases for their roles in Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme. The charges included fraud and falsifying records. Kugel will be sentenced in October, according to court records. Lipkin and Cotellessa-Pitz will be sentenced in December.

Madoff, the Ponzi scheme's chief architect, pleaded guilty in March 2009 and is serving a 150-year sentence in a federal prison.

Lipkin, 38, of Ridgewood, New Jersey, assisted Madoff for more than ten years by, among other things, helping employees to carry out a fictitious investing strategy that Madoff claimed to pursue on behalf of his clients, the SEC wrote in one of the civil orders dated Thursday. Kugel, 67, a former trader and compliance analyst from Manhasset, New York, helped create fictional trades and account statements, according to the SEC.

Cotellessa-Pitz, 54, worked at the firm for more than 30 years. She helped falsify accounting records and financial statements in order to mislead SEC examiners, the agency wrote.

(Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; Editing by Chris Reese)

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