S&P paying about $1.38B to settle gov't allegations it knowingly inflated some ratings

Markets Associated Press

Standard & Poor's is paying about $1.38 billion to settle government allegations that it knowingly inflated its ratings of risky mortgage investments that helped trigger the financial crisis.

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The McGraw Hill Financial subsidiary Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC reached a settlement with the Justice Department over ratings issued from 2004 through 2007.

The settlement also resolves lawsuits filed by the attorneys general of 19 States and the District of Columbia.

The Justice Department filed civil fraud charges against S&P two years ago this week. It accused the company of failing to warn investors that the housing market was collapsing in 2006 because doing so would hurt its ratings business.

S&P will also pay $125 million in a separate settlement with the California Public Employees' Retirement System.