Accused Wall Street scammer Bernard Madoff has settled a large part of the civil case brought against him by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the agency said Monday.

Without admitting or denying any of the allegations against him, Madoff agreed to a permanent injunction prohibiting him from disposing of any assets in connection with the SEC lawsuit over the alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme, officials said in a statement.

Consent degrees and permanent injunctions are common in settling SEC lawsuits, but the action involving Madoff, which still has to be approved by a Manhattan federal judge, doesn't resolve the criminal case against him.

The amount Madoff will have to pay in penalties and disgorgement of alleged proceeds of illegality are to be determined later, the SEC said.

"It is a step in the right direction in that it shows some progress being made," said Christopher Bebel, a former SEC attorney who is in private practice in Houston.

But Bebel said the new document wasn't that significant because there is no way Madoff could pay back the customers to any significant degree.

"He does not have the capacity to do so and the SEC is well aware of this," Bebel said.

Ira Sorkin, Madoff's defense attorney, couldn't be immediately reached for comment.

Madoff is currently under house arrest at his $7 million Upper East Side apartment on a $10 million bond.

The federal criminal case is slated to be in court Wednesday.