Dynegy ( DYN) has been hit with some ugly reminders of its past.

The former energy trader -- once considered an "Enron-wannabe" -- learned Thursday that three of its former accountants face felony charges for their alleged participation in a fraudulent profit-pumping scheme. The company, which is attempting to reinvent itself under new management, has already paid $3 million to settle similar charges.

Thursday's indictments, issued by the U.S. attorney's office in Houston, charged Gene Foster, Jamie Olis and Helen Sharkey with allegedly engineering a scheme -- popularly known as "Project Alpha" -- that disguised Dynegy's true financial condition. Federal prosecutors said the three were charged with criminal conspiracy, securities fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud.

Meanwhile, in filing a civil suit along similar lines, the Securities and Exchange Commission made it clear that penalties in the Dynegy case shouldn't end with the company.

"Those who betray the public trust will be pursued and punished," said Harold Degenhardt, district administrator of the SEC branch in Fort Worth, Texas. "Investors deserve this commitment, and the markets require it."

In an earlier investigation of the company, the SEC found that Dynegy used Project Alpha to reclassify a $300 million loan and tax benefit as operating cash flow and net income during the energy trading boom that preceded Enron's demise. Dynegy settled the case last September without admitting or denying wrongdoing.

Investigators now claim that at least three former Dynegy employees -- and potentially more -- carry heavy responsibility for the scam. Indeed, the SEC says the individual employees actually disregarded the advice of outside auditor Arthur Andersen and hid their improper activities from the company.

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