NEW YORK (AP) _ Three Michigan men were accused Thursday of violating securities laws by arranging to buy millions of dollars of stocks without having enough money to pay for them.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said in a civil lawsuit that the men relied on the anticipated profits from other matched trades to settle the transactions with brokerage houses.

The effect of the scheme, called ''free riding,'' was to put brokers' funds at risk to finance trading by the defendants, the SEC said.

The lawsuit alleges the defendants didn't pay their debts when the trades were unprofitable, resulting in a loss of $3.4 million among 14 brokerage houses in the past year.

The SEC said the defendants were able to order more than $65 million of securities trades without putting their own money at risk.

The lawsuit named Mark Sendo, 29, of West Bloomfield, Mich.; Scott Burman, of Birmingham, Mich.; and Richard Tringale, of Grosse Pointe, Mich. Various companies formed by the defendants to trade stock also were sued.

The SEC said Sendo was self-employed and traded securities for his own accounts. Burman was identified as Sendo's assistant and Tringale traded for his account through Sendo's office.

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan seeks penalties and recovery of the alleged illegal profits and losses suffered by the brokerage houses.