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Federal prosecutors end criminal investigation of Countrywide executive

Federal prosecutors have dropped a criminal investigation against former Countrywide Financial Corporation [JURIST news archive] executive Angelo Mozilo, concluding that he was not involved in any criminal conduct during his time as director over the company, according to Friday reports. Mozilo is most identified with taking part in the mortgage boom that caused financial devastation to banking institutions and private homeowners. In 2009, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) [official website] charged [JURIST report] Mozilo, along with several other company officials, with securities fraud arising from misleading investors. The SEC alleged that the officials falsely assured investors about credit risks involved in the company's efforts to build and maintain their market share, and that they knew the company was issuing risky loans and that defaults and delinquencies would arise as a result. Mozilo was also charged with insider trading for selling his stock in the company based on inside information. Although the Mozilo probe has been dropped, future investigations may arise [LAT report] from developments in the civil cases against Mozilo from Countrywide shareholders.

Recently, there have been several settlements resulting from the lawsuits against Countrywide for its role in the mortgage crisis. Earlier this month, the Superior Court of California County of Los Angeles [official website] approved [opinion, PDF] a $6.5 million settlement [JURIST report] between the state of California and two former Countrywide Financial Corporation executives, including Mozilo, accused of predatory lending. In June, Countrywide, reached [JURIST report] a $108 million settlement agreement [text, PDF] with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) [official website] in response to a lawsuit that charged it with collecting excessive fees from homeowners facing foreclosure.

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