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SEC bars Egan-Jones from rating gov't, other bonds

The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Securities and Exchange Commission is barring Egan-Jones Ratings Co. from rating governments and issuers of mortgages and other types of bonds for at least 18 months as a recognized ratings agency.

The SEC said Tuesday that the independent credit-rating firm agreed to the measure to settle charges that it had made false statements when applying to become a "Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization."

Egan-Jones in 2008 had allegedly claimed to have ratings on 150 asset-backed securities and 50 governments. But the SEC said it couldn't find any such ratings available online or through other "readily accessible" venues.

Asset-backed securities are often pools of mortgages or automotive loans.

Egan Jones and its founder, Sean Egan, agreed to the order without admitting any wrongdoing.