WASHINGTON (AP) - Merrill Lynch has agreed to pay $131.8 million to settle U.S. civil charges that it misled investors about risky mortgage bonds it sold ahead of the 2008 financial crisis.
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlement Thursday. Merrill Lynch was accused of marketing the investments with misleading materials in 2006 and 2007. The materials gave investors the false impression that the collateral for the mortgage-backed investments was chosen by an independent firm.
Merrill neither admitted nor denied the allegations.
When the housing bubble burst in 2007, millions of home borrowers defaulted on their loans and bundles of mortgages sold by big banks left investors with billions in losses.
Bank of America acquired Merrill at the height of the crisis in September 2008.