The SEC charged a former Prudential branch manager and five of his ex-brokers Tuesday with repeatedly timing the market, in the latest chapter of the growing mutual fund scandal.

The SEC’s civil charge contends that the branch manager, Robert Shannon, approved the market-timing practices of brokers Martin Druffner, Justin Ficken, Skifter Ajro, John Peffer and Marc Bilotti.

In a separate complaint, Massachusetts regulators named former brokers Druffner, Ficken and Ajro but not Peffer. Massachusetts has also charged branch manager Shannon as well as another manager, Michael Vanin.

The SEC’s complaint further contends that the Prudential workers misrepresented themselves or their clients in order to pass the trades through.

Of the alleged misrepresentation, SEC Director of Enforcement Stephen M. Cutler said in a statement: "The defendants were able to circumvent restrictions intended to protect mutual fund shareholders against excessive market timing. That’s fraud, plain and simple."

As if that is not enough, The Wall Street Journal reports that Massachusetts regulators are prepared to charge Prudential, owned by Wachovia, for receiving and ignoring 25,000 letters of complaint about market timing over the past year.

Wachovia would not comment on the violations, said by the SEC to have been committed between 2001 and 2003, to either the Journal or Reuters.

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