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Civil Charges Looming in Fund Scandal

Nov 3, 2003 | Wall Street Journal Massachusetts regulators and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, turning their attention to brokers who may have helped investors market-time their mutual-fund trades, are expected to file civil securities fraud charges this week against at least five former employees of Prudential Securities' downtown Boston office, Monday's Wall Street Journal reported.

The state and federal complaints, which could be filed as early as tomorrow, are expected to accuse the former Prudential brokers and supervisors of civil fraud for improperly aiding investors in the fast-paced buying and selling of funds, according to people familiar with the matter. While not illegal, these market-timing trades often hurt the profits of long-term shareholders. It is also improper for funds to permit some customers to market-time while denying that privilege to others.

State and federal regulators are also continuing to pursue a possible complaint against Prudential itself, according to a person familiar with the matter. An SEC spokesman declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Wachovia Corp. which now controls the Prudential Securities sales force.

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