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NEW YORK

Ex-Madoff trader pleads guilty in plea deal

NEW YORK — Jailed financier Bernard Madoff’s multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme stretched back at least to the early 1970s, when his employees used historical information about stocks to create false trades that could be placed on customer statements, a former trader revealed as he pleaded guilty Monday to criminal charges.

David Kugel pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Manhattan to conspiracy, securities fraud, bank fraud, falsifying business records and falsifying the books of an investment adviser, charges that carry a potential penalty of up to 85 years in prison.

A cooperation deal with prosecutors that leaves Kugel free on $3 million bail would earn him leniency at a sentencing tentatively scheduled for May 4. As part of the plea, he agreed to forfeit $3.5 million to the government.

PENNSYLVANIA

Executives get prison for fatal bone cement trial

PHILADELPHIA — Three former executives of a Pennsylvania medical devices company have been sentenced to prison for unapproved medical trials that left three people dead.

Former Synthes North America President Michael Huggins of West Chester, Pa., and former Senior Vice President Thomas B. Higgins of Berwyn received nine-month prison terms. Ex-Director of Regulatory Affairs John Walsh of Coatesville was on the job for less time and received a five-month prison term.

They are among the first company leaders sent to prison after pleading guilty to misdemeanors as “responsible corporate officers.”

Prosecutors say they bypassed safety rules and let surgeons test bone cement in frail patients even though animals had died in earlier tests.

Vice President Richard Bohner’s sentencing was postponed indefinitely Monday after his lawyer became ill.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Police: Woman tried to smuggle drugs in hollow Bibles

LANCASTER — Deputies say a woman used two hollowed-out Bibles to try to smuggle weapons, drugs and a cellphone to a prison inmate.

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