CHICAGO — Comments made by banking analyst Meredith Whitney in 2010 about looming municipal defaults caused more damage to the municipal bond market than market participants charged with fraud in recent years, a former top muni regulator said Friday.

Paul S. Maco, a bond attorney and former head of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s municipal securities office, told a bond lawyers’ group that Whitney’s prediction for “hundreds of billions of dollars” in looming municipal defaults, and the subsequent attention the comments received in the market, eroded investors’ faith in municipal securities and led them to dump muni bonds.

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