March 10 is looking more and more like judgment day for Mercury Finance Co., the debt-riddled subprime auto lender trying to recover from a phony- accounting scandal.

Mercury hurtled deeper into debt Friday, defaulting on $77 million in commercial paper obligations, bringing the total it has defaulted on to $188 million. Another $122 million in commercial paper is due by the end of February and $139 million more in March, said Reilly Tierney, an analyst at Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co.

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