HARRISBURG, Pa. (Legal Newsline) - Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett has reached a $120 million settlement of claims against Royal Dutch Shell, brought on behalf of all U.S. investors who suffered losses as the result of the company's alleged actions.

The class action lawsuit claimed Royal Dutch Shell was overstating oil and natural gas reserves and artificially inflating stock prices from April 1999 to March 2004.

The lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit are the Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement Board and the Public School Employees' Retirement Board.

"Over the past several years we have taken aggressive legal action against companies accused of misrepresenting profits and other key financial information that misled investors and we will continue to defend the rights of Pennsylvania taxpayers and consumers in these cases," Corbett said in a statement.

"We will not allow Pennsylvania investors and retirees to be put at risk in order to falsely inflate corporate profits and stock prices," added Corbett, a Democrat.

The settlement covers all investors who purchased Shell shares on U.S. markets between April 1999 and March 2004. The settlement also extends to any American citizen or entity that purchased Shell shares on non-U.S. markets during that same period.

"When companies mislead investors and artificially inflate stock values, they put short-term corporate interests ahead of long-term security for investors and consumers." Corbett said.

Corbett said the final distribution of funds will be determined by the total number of investors who submit claims.

The settlement has been approved by the Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement Board, the Public School Employees' Retirement Board and the Office of Attorney General.

U.S. District Judge Joel Pisano in Trenton, N.J., gave preliminary approval Tuesday to the deal.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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