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SEC lawyer's Madoff ties questioned

Bernard Madoff (L) is shown at a New York federal court March 12, 2009. UPI/Monika Graff
Bernard Madoff (L) is shown at a New York federal court March 12, 2009. UPI/Monika Graff | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Republican lawmakers are questioning the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about its top lawyer's inheritance of Bernard Madoff investments.

Four senior members of the House Financial Services Committee wrote to SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro Thursday, asking whether general counsel David Becker informed the agency when he rejoined it in 2009 -- soon after the enormous Madoff Ponzi scheme collapsed -- that he had inherited a Madoff account.

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Madoff was imprisoned for life for operating what was described as the largest Ponzi scheme ever, about $60 billion.

SEC spokesman John Nester told The Washington Post Becker did raise the issue and the ethics office told him he could work on "certain Madoff-related matters."

Becker later signed one of the SEC's briefs on how much Madoff's investors might recoup.

Becker's mother died in 2004, leaving a Madoff account worth more than $2 million. Becker and his brothers liquidated it in 2005.

The trustee trying to recover funds is suing the Beckers, saying they, as "net winners" in the scam, were paid with other people's money. The trustee wants to "claw back" more than $1.5 million from them.

The House members also asked Schapiro whether Becker formally recused himself from all Madoff matters. "It gets to the heart of how does the SEC runs itself now," committee spokesman Jeff Emerson said.

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