A federal judge has dismissed civil securities fraud charges against a New York brokerage firm and its executives that resulted from a probe into the Bernard Madoff case.

The charges were dismissed Tuesday against Cohmad Securities Corp.; its chairman, Maurice "Sonny" Cohn; his daughter, chief operating officer Marcia Cohn; and vice president and broker Robert Jaffe.

The Securities and Exchange Commission brought the charges last year. It said the defendants' fraudulent intent could be inferred from allegations that Madoff requested secrecy in marketing his investments and they complied.

Judge Louis Stanton said Monday that the SEC's chain of inferences to accuse the defendants was "speculative and flimsy."

Madoff is serving 150 years in prison after ripping off thousands of investors of billions of dollars.