Business briefs from around New England.

Whitman investigator testifies in Congress

Whitman fraud investigator Harry Markopolos took center stage in Washington as he testified before a House subcommittee about his extended efforts to alert the Securities and Exchange Commission to a massive Ponzi scheme allegedly employed by Wall Street wizard Bernard Madoff.

Markopolos urged congressmen to revamp the SEC to give it more teeth so it can more effectively stop white-collar criminals.

Madoff associate ordered to testify

In Boston, Secretary of State William Galvin scored a victory in his investigation into Bernie Madoff when a close associate of Madoff's finally testified to Galvin's staff.

Robert Jaffe, an alleged recruiter for Madoff who claims that he was also a victim of Madoff's scheme, reluctantly appeared before state securities regulators after a Superior Court judge ordered him to testify.

Macy's layoffs include Bay State jobs

Macy's Inc. unveiled plans to cut about 7,000 jobs nationwide, including an estimated 150 or so at stores in Massachusetts. But those cuts will be partially offset by new regional merchandising offices.

Macy's plans to open district offices in Boston, Peabody and Attleboro, employing nearly 25 in each place. The employees will help customize merchandise assortments in each store to tailor them to the stores' local customer base.

Talbots, too, to cut jobs, close stores

Talbots is slimming down again by cutting about 370 corporate-level jobs, closing 20 stores and eliminating employee bonuses and merit raises.

The Hingham-based retailer is reacting to a strong downturn in sales in the past holiday season that affected much of the apparel industry.

State Street cuts executive bonuses

State Street Corp. executives are going to see a drop in their pay now that the company has canceled end-of-year incentive bonuses for its top five executives and has halved bonuses for the rest of the work force.

The Boston-based financial company is trying to shore up its financial stability in the face of unrealized losses in its investment portfolio.

The Patriot Ledger