Money market pioneer Bruce Bent cleared of SEC fraud charges

NEW YORK Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:47am IST

Money market pioneer Bruce Bent leaves the Manhattan Federal Court in New York October 11, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/Files

Money market pioneer Bruce Bent leaves the Manhattan Federal Court in New York October 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Andrew Kelly/Files

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Money market pioneer Bruce Bent and his son on Monday were cleared of civil fraud charges that they misled investors in the early days of the 2008 financial crisis, a family spokesman said.

The Manhattan federal jury's verdict is a blow to U.S. securities regulators in one of the few civil cases accusing individuals on Wall Street of wrongdoing during the crisis.

Bent's son, Bruce Bent II, was found liable on one negligence claim, according to the family spokesman, Mark Arena. Both men were cleared of violating civil securities laws, the spokesman said.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had accused Bruce Bent and Bruce Bent II of lying to investors and fund trustees in attempts to stop a run on their Reserve Fund in September 2008, as financial markets were roiled in the wake of the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers.

At the trial, a lawyer for the Bents argued that the men were acting in good faith and said the funds had fallen victim to the economic maelstrom of September 2008.

The SEC was closed for Veterans Day and a spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.

(Reporting By Basil Katz and Sarah Lynch; Editing by Martha Graybow)

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