A charitable foundation run by a wealthy real estate magnate has sued the Securities and Exchange Commission, blaming the agency for failing to catch Bernard Madoff's fraud before it lost about $19 million.

The lawsuit filed in a New York City federal court by The Litwin Foundation Inc. on Friday accused the SEC of blowing "countless opportunities" to stop Madoff over a 16-year period. An SEC spokesman says the agency had no comment. Several other lawsuits have also blamed the SEC for failing to stop Madoff.

The foundation was formed by Leonard Litwin, who was once listed on the Forbes magazine's list of America's billionaires.

The 72-year-old Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to fraud charges last year.