NEW YORK (AP) - A federal judge has rejected a $33 million settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and Bank of America over bonuses paid by Merrill Lynch.
U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff called the proposed consent judgment "inadequate."
Rakoff wrote in an opinion Monday that the $33 million settlement was a "trivial penalty for a false statement that materially infected a multi-billion-dollar merger."
Last month, Rakoff ordered the SEC to explain why it didn't investigate whether executives at North Carolina-based Bank of America misled shareholders about the Merrill bonuses.
Merrill paid $3.6 billion in bonuses in 2008, even though it lost $27.6 billion that year.