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Oppenheimer and CEO Charged in NASD Probe

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From Dow Jones/Associated Press

Oppenheimer & Co. and Chief Executive Albert Lowenthal were charged by the NASD with “knowingly producing inaccurate data” as part of a probe of discount practices in the selling of mutual funds.

The NASD said Monday that in a separate action it fined the Toronto-based investment firm $250,000 for being late in reporting potential misconduct by brokers.

A spokesman for Oppenheimer couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The NASD, formerly the National Assn. of Securities Dealers, said the complaint stemmed from a March 2003 report showing that a number of transactions in front-end-loaded mutual funds that appeared eligible for a breakpoint discount didn’t receive one.

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The regulator claimed that it had called on Oppenheimer to perform a self-assessment of its discount practices but never received a satisfactory response.

Possible penalties for NASD violations include fines, censure, suspension from the securities industry and disgorgement of improper gains, the NASD said.

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