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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Securities and Exchange Commission probe stock sales by Countrywide CEO

October 18 2007
The man who nearly 40 years ago co-founded what is now the nation's largest mortgage lender is being scrutinized by federal securities regulators as they examine his sales of the struggling company's stock. The Securities and Exchange Commission's informal inquiry into Countrywide Financial Corp.. Chief Executive Angelo R. Mozilo has been under way for a while, a person familiar with the matter said Wednesday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe has not been made public. Mozilo sold some $130 million in Countrywide stock in the first half of the year through a prearranged 10b5-1 trading plan. The plans, popular among corporate executives, allow a company insider to set up a program in advance for such transactions and proceed with them even if he or she comes into possession of significant nonpublic information. The SEC has been casting a wide net in its scrutiny of Wall Street banks, investors, credit-rating agencies and others and the role they played in the subprime mortgage crisis.

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