Thanks to the few readers who sent in the links about the Fannie/Freddie executives who had civil lawsuits filed against them today – but it doesn’t look like they will be facing jail time. Excerpted from the AP:
In a lawsuit filed in New York, the Securities and Exchange Commission brought civil fraud charges against six former executives at the two firms, including former Fannie CEO Daniel Mudd and former Freddie CEO Richard Syron.
The executives were accused of understating the level of high-risk subprime mortgages that Fannie and Freddie held just before the housing bubble burst.
“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives told the world that their subprime exposure was substantially smaller than it really was,” said Robert Khuzami, SEC’s enforcement director.
Many legal experts say they don’t expect the six executives to face criminal charges.
“If the U.S. attorney’s office was going to be bringing charges, they would have brought it simultaneously with the civil case,” said Christopher Morvillo, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice in Manhattan.
Robert Mintz, a white-collar defense lawyer, says he doubts any top Wall Street executives will face criminal charges for actions that hastened the financial crisis, given how much time has passed.
The SEC has brought other cases related to the financial crisis since it began a broad investigation into the actions of Wall Street banks and other financial firms about three years ago.
Most cases, however, didn’t involve charges against prominent top executives.
An exception was Angelo Mozilo, the co-founder and CEO of failed mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp. He agreed to a $67.5 million settlement with the SEC in October 2010 to avoid trial on civil fraud and insider trading charges that he profited from doling out risky mortgages while misleading investors about the risks.
(These perpetrators will probably settle for something less than the Tan Man?)