Oppenheimer Lawsuit Filed by Oregon Over Mutual Fund Losses

The State of Oregon has filed a $36.2 million lawsuit against OppenheimerFunds, Inc., seeking to recover losses caused by the collapse of the Oppenheimer Core Bond Fund.

The state’s Oppenheimer lawsuit joins similar class action suits and claims filed by investors who allege that misrepresentations were made about the risk associated different mutual funds offered by Oppenheimer.

The Oregon lawsuit involves losses in the Oregon College Savings Plan and the OppenheimerFunds 529 Plan. The attorney general and treasurer of Oregon allege that Oppenheimer distorted the facts about their bond funds, claiming that they were conservative investments for the state, when in reality the money was in a high-risk hedge fund-like vehicle.

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OppenheimerFunds, Inc., is accused of making inappropriate bond investments, resulting in massive losses for the Oppenheimer Core Bond Fund during the market downturn late last year.

Similar Oppenheimer lawsuits and arbitration claims have been filed over losses in the Oppenheimer Champion Income Fund, which is a high-yield bond fund offered by the firm to individual investors.

Starting in July 2008, the value of the Oppenheimer Champion income Fund began to decline as the credit markets fell apart. When Lehman Brothers and AIG collapsed in September 2008, the value of the fund’s shares fell even further, ending the year with losses of 78% in 2008.

In February 2009, an Oppenheimer class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which seeks to represent all investors who purchased shares between January 26, 2007 and December 6, 2008. The Oppenheimer lawsuit alleges that the firm failed to adhere to the stated objective of not taking any undue risk, failed to have adequate controls in place to prevent excessive risk and failed to disclose the extent of the risk posed by investment in the bond fund.

A number of individual investors have also filed arbitration claims over Oppenheimer mutual fund losses through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).


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