WASHINGTON -- Lance Wilson, a former vice president at PaineWebber Inc., goes on trial here today in a case that spotlights bond dealers' common practice of providing commitment letters to underwrite the bond financing for federal housing projects.

The independent prosecutor in the case, Arlin Adams, is charging that Mr. Wilson, in writing three such commitment letters for projects in Florida and Texas, committed fraud against the government because he knew the promised financings most likely would never be carried out.

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