Merrill Lynch Settles S.E.C. Fraud Case

Merrill Lynch agreed to pay $10 million on Tuesday to settle fraud accusations by securities regulators.

The Securities and Exchange Commission had accused Merrill of fraud, saying that the firm misused private information from its customers to place trades on its own behalf and that the firm repeatedly charged its customers trading fees without their knowledge.

“The conduct here was clearly inappropriate,” Scott W. Friestad, the agency’s associate director for enforcement, said in a statement. “Investors have the right to expect that their brokers won’t misuse their order information.”

Bank of America acquired Merrill in January 2009. The S.E.C. said the conduct took place before the merger.

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