Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP of New York has filed a class action lawsuit in New York Supreme Court against Prudential Securities and affiliates of the AEGON group of companies on behalf of investors who purchased annuities used to fund qualified retirement plans.

The lawsuit alleges that Prudential Securities and the AEGON affiliates breached their fiduciary duties, violated the state deceptive acts and practices statute, and committed common law fraud and negligent misrepresentation in their marketing and sale of deferred annuities in qualified tax-deferred retirement accounts, according to Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz.

The suit was filed last week, said Robert B. Weintraub, of counsel at Wolf Haldenstein. He said it is likely Prudential will file a motion to dismiss.

Similar lawsuits were brought against both American Express and Nationwide Financial regarding selling variable annuities in qualified plans in 1998. American Express reached an agreement in principal to settle the class action suit in January, but final settlement is still being reviewed and is subject to a judge's approval. Final approval is expected sometime this summer.

A spokesperson for Prudential Securities said the company had not yet received a copy of the complaint against it and declined to comment.

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