NEW YORK Nov 12 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.