Prudential Financial Suspends 2 Employees

December 18, 2004

Prudential Financial Inc. suspended two employees, including a group insurance executive, amid its review of broker-fee practices, a New Jersey newspaper reported Friday, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Michael Witwer, a senior vice president of group products and marketing, was suspended with pay about three weeks ago, the Star-Ledger of Newark reported, and a lower-ranking employee was also put on paid leave.

Newark-based Prudential, the third-largest U.S. life insurer, was sued last month by California regulators who said it paid insurance broker Universal Life Resources Inc. fees, that weren't disclosed, to clients to win more business. The insurer was also mentioned in New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's suit against Universal Life for allegedly providing false information about the commissions its employees would pay.

Kevin Marino, Witwer's attorney, told the paper that Witwer "vigorously denies that he did anything improper."

A Prudential spokesman would say only that the company cooperates with all regulatory inquiries, the Star-Ledger said.

From wire reports.

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