It certainly paid well for two former executives of Countrywide yesterday in the settlement of a civil lawsuit brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission charging Angelo Mozilo, former CEO, and David Sambol, former president, with securities fraud and insider trading. A scam which netted the two a total of nearly $160 million.
The first two paragraphs of the story read like this:
“Angelo R. Mozilo, who as head of home-loan giant Countrywide was at the center of the housing boom and bust, agreed Friday to pay a record fine as part of a $73-million settlement of a government fraud lawsuit over the lender’s near-collapse.
The deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission requires Mozilo, the highest-profile figure to be accused of wrongdoing in the mortgage meltdown, to personally pay a $22.5-million fine. The government said it would be the largest penalty ever paid by a senior executive of a public company in an SEC settlement.”
Then come the “buts”:
“Mozilo…also agreed to pay $45 million in “ill-gotten gains” to former Countrywide Financial Corp. shareholders, who lost billions when the company’s stock price plunged as defaults on home loans surged. But Bank of America Corp., which bought Countrywide in 2008, and Countrywide’s insurers will pay that amount under terms of Mozilo’s employment contract.
Countrywide’s former president, David Sambol, agreed to pay $520,000 in fines and $5 million in restitution. Bank of America will reimburse him for the latter.”
So to recap, Mozilo pays $22.5 million, Sambol pays $520,000. During the period covered by the suit Mozilo received $141.7 million, Sambol $18.3 million, while Countrywide was losing $1.6 billion. But that’s just a snapshot:
“For years, Mr. Mozilo was among the highest-paid executives in America and his S.E.C. fine is a fraction of the vast wealth he amassed running Countrywide. In one eight-year period, from 2000 until he left the company in 2008, Mr. Mozilo received total compensation of $521.5 million, according to Equilar, a compensation research firm.”
Mozilo is still the subject of a criminal investigation by the Justice Department, but anyone who believes this DOJ will pursue criminal charges against any of the financial industry’s Masters of the Universe hasn’t been paying attention. The next one prosecuted will be the first. Gotta keep looking forward, you know.