A two year probe of Morgan Keegan has finally produced fraud charges against the broker-dealer and two employees accused of manipulating the prices of bond funds that were suffering steep losses. According to the SEC two Morgan Keegan employees worked together to fraudulently overstate the value of securities backed by subprime mortgages.
Robert Khuzami, director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement, said, "This scheme had two architects—a portfolio manager responsible for lies to investors about the true value of the assets in his funds, and a head of fund accounting who turned a blind eye to the fund's bogus valuation process."
The SEC claims that Morgan Keegan, owned by Regions Financial Corp., failed to employ reasonable internal pricing procedures in five funds, leading to inaccurate net asset values for the funds. Morgan Keegan allegedly published these inflated values and used the numbers to sell shares to investors.
In a separate complaint against Morgan Keegan, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) alleges that the firm misled investors about the risk of investing in the funds, which cost investors well over $1 billion.
FINRA alleges that Morgan Keegan’s misleading and deficient internal guidance coupled with the failure to provide adequate training caused brokers to make misrepresentations about the funds to investors.
A Morgan Keegan spokesman said Wednesday that the firm believes the charges are meritless and based on erroneous hindsight analysis.
FINRA is seeking an unspecified fine, as well as the repayment of all ill-gotten profits and full restitution to investors who suffered losses.
If you have lost your nest egg as a result of Morgan Keegan’s deceitful tactics the investment fraud lawyers at the Hayes Law Firm can help. Contact us today for free consultation with a one of Morgan Keegan bond fund attorneys.