The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged six ex-executives of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) and the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) with securities fraud. The Commission claims that they not only knew that misleading statements were being made claiming that both companies had minimal holdings of higher-risk mortgage loans but also they approved these messages.
The six people charged are former Freddie Mac CEO and Chairman of the Board Richard F. Syron, ex-Chief Business Officer and Executive Vice President Patricia L. Cook, and former ex-Single Family Guarantee Executive Vice President Donald J. Bisenius. The three ex-Fannie Mae executives that the SEC has charged are former CEO Daniel H Mudd, ex-Fannie Mae’s Single Family Mortgage Executive Vice President Thomas A. Lund, and ex- Chief Risk Officer Enrico Dallavecchia.
In separate securities fraud lawsuits, the SEC accuses the ex-executives of causing Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to issue materially misleading statements about their subprime mortgage loans in public statements, SEC filings, and media interviews and investor calls. SEC enforcement director Robert Khuzami says that the former executives “substantially” downplayed what their actual subprime exposure “really was.”
The SEC contends that in 2009, Fannie told investors that its books had about $4.8 billion of subprime loans, which was about .2% of its portfolio, when, in fact, the mortgage company had about $43.5 billion of these products, which is about 11% of its holdings. Meantime, in 2006 Freddie allegedly told investors that its subprime loans was somewhere between $2 to 6 billion when, according to the SEC, its holdings were nearer to $141 billion (10% of its portfolio). By 2008, Freddie had $244 billion in subprime loans, which was 14% of its portfolio.
Yet despite these facts, the ex-executives allegedly continued to maintain otherwise. For example, the SEC says that in 2007, Freddie CEO Syron said the mortgage firm had virtually “no subprime exposure.”
It was in 2008 that the government had to bail out both Fannie and Freddie. It continues to control both companies. The rescue has already cost taxpayers approximately $150 billion, and the Federal Housing Finance Administration, which acts as its governmental regulator, says that this figure could rise up to $259 billion.
Today, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae both entered into agreements with the government that admitted their responsibility for their behavior without denying or admitting to the charges. They also consented to work with the SEC in their cases against the ex-executives.
The Commission is seeking disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus interest, financial penalties, officer and director bars, and permanent and injunctive relief.
Ex-Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac execs charged with fraud, USA Today/AP, December 16, 2011
SEC Charges Former Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Executives with Securities Fraud, SEC, December 16, 2011
More Blog Posts:
Former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Told Hedge Funds About Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Bailouts in Advance, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, November 30, 2011
Morgan Keegan Settles Subprime Mortgage-Backed Securities Charges for $200M, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, June 29, 2011
Freddie Mac and Fannie May Drop After They Delist Their Shares from New York Stock Exchange, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, June 25, 2010