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The SEC said it has returned more than $2 billion, the agency’s largest distribution ever, to investors who lost money through a number of illegal schemes. In 2009, distributions to injured investors have been made in 31 cases brought by the commission involving illegal conduct ranging from accounting fraud to pump-and-dump schemes to mutual fund market timing. Among the distributions this year were more than $840 million to approximately 257,000 injured AIG investors, more than $320 million to approximately two million injured investors in Alliance Capital mutual funds, and more than $240 million to approximately 700,000 injured Bear Stearns investors. The SEC reached the $2 billion milestone with the Nov. 20 distribution of more than $40 million related to an illegal late trading scheme involving Ritchie Capital Management, the agency said. In 2002, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act authorized the SEC to create funds, called Fair Funds, comprised of both civil penalties and ill-gotten gains that could be returned to defrauded investors. Approximately $6.6 billion has been distributed.

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Peter Westerman

Credit Union Times

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