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Standard & Poor’s|Whacked for $77 Million

WASHINGTON (CN) - Standard & Poor's will pay $77 million to settle complaints that it made false and misleading statements in rating commercial mortgage-backed securities, the SEC and two states said Wednesday.

The ratings agency will pay $58 million to settle the SEC claims, another $12 million to settle a parallel case from New York State, and another $7 million to settle a complaint from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services was accused of fraudulent misconduct beginning in 2011.

"Standard & Poor's elevated its own financial interests above investors by loosening its rating criteria to obtain business and then obscuring these changes from investors," SEC Enforcement Director Andrew Ceresney said Wednesday in a statement.

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