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The Mess At Pru Bache

George L. Ball's reign is over at Pru-Bache--but his era lives on. After nine years as CEO, Ball resigned on Feb. 13, leaving behind more than $250 million in losses and one nasty mess for Pru-Bache's parent, Prudential Insurance Co. of America.

Pru-Bache and Prudential face legal troubles that could drag down their finances--and images--for years to come. Prudential-Bache Securities Inc. sold more than $6 billion in limited partnerships to more than 100,000 investors during Ball's time. But plummeting values of the underlying investments and stiff up-front fees and commissions have taken their toll. Today, these partnerships may be worth less than $3 billion.