WASHINGTON -- Three bond issues backed by Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Co. -- including the largest issue insured by that firm -- could default next month unless they are refunded or another source of money is found to redeem the bonds.

The three 1985 housing issues -- which were sold by Maryland state and county issuers to finance apartments -- are among 59 bond deals totaling $809 million that were guaranteed by Mutual Benefit and then thrown into jeopardy after the insurer was seized by New Jersey regulators a few months ago.

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