Judge awards $750,000 in case of money fund that 'broke the buck'

Reuters

By Nate Raymond and Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK, Sept 30 (Reuters) - The U.S. Securities andExchange Commission lost much of its bid Monday for civilpenalties in a lawsuit arising out of the 2008 collapse of alarge money market fund that famously "broke the buck," with acourt awarding just $750,000.

U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in Manhattan said the SEChad not demonstrated that Bruce Bent II, a co-manager of theReserve Primary Fund, and two Reserve entities should have todisgorge ill-gotten profits.

The combined penalty was also a small fraction of the morethan $130 million that the regulator had sought.

"These entities were in business for decades and committedfew regulatory violations," Gardephe wrote. "Their wrongfulconduct took place over a period of less than 36 hours andduring a time of enormous economic stress."

The decision follows a jury verdict last November thatcleared money market pioneer Bruce Bent Sr and Bruce Bent II,his son, of civil fraud charges stemming from the collapse.

The jury found the son liable for negligence, and thecorporate entities liable on other counts.

Representatives for the Bents and SEC did not immediatelyrespond to requests for comment.

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