The Feds have decided to end their criminal investigation of the former CEO of Countrywide Financial, Angelo Mozilo, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Apparently this result “had been expected for some time by observers of the case.”
It comes in the wake of last year’s civil fraud settlement, in which Mozilo and two other ex-Countrywide execs never admitted or denied wrongdoing, but Mozilo paid $67.5 million to settle the case.
According to the WSJ,
People familiar with the federal criminal probe say that the general collapse in the mortgage market made it more difficult to pinpoint the actions of any particular executive as something that could be prosecuted.
Mozilo co-founded Countrywide in 1969, and under his helm the company became America’s largest mortgage lender. However, toxic assets in its mortgage portfolio seriously damaged the company and Bank of America acquired it in 2008.
Mozilo’s lawyers have always argued that “Countrywide’s problems were caused by the general collapse of the mortgage market nationally and not by any misdeeds by company executives,” the WSJ said.