The Securities and Exchange Commission sued the State of Illinois with securities fraud today, alleging that the state misled municipal bond investors for years about state pension funding problems.
Illinois and the SEC have already come to an agreement to settle the charges, which stemmed from over $2.2 billion worth of bond sales between 2005 and 2009. Starting in 2005, Illinois took a number of “pension holiday” which enabled them t pay other pressing state bills instead of paying their pension liabilities. Illinois officials did disclose these pension holidays to investors, but they failed to “disclose the effect of those changes” on the state’s ability to meet pension obligations in the future.
You can read the SEC’s full press-release here.
Just last month Illinois was forced to cancel a $500 million bond sale, after Standard & Poor’s downgraded the state’s credit rating to A-, the worst in the nation.