The fund industry’s squeaky-clean image and avoidance of major scandals throughout its history may have taken a major hit Wednesday as New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced he has obtained evidence of widespread illegal trading schemes that potentially cost mutual fund investors billions of dollars.

A number of fund firms have violated the law by allowing certain investors to buy a fund at that day’s closing price well into the evening hours, Spitzer told a press conference just up from Wall Street. In so doing, they shrugged their fiduciary responsibility to shareholders in order to line their own pockets, Spitzer said.

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