Daniel Mudd, the former chief executive officer of Fannie Mae, andRichard Syron, ex-CEO of Freddie Mac, were sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for understating by hundreds of billions of dollars the subprime loans held by the agencies.
The lawsuits filed today in Manhattan federal court were followed by an SEC statement that it had entered into non- prosecution agreements with each lender. Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored enterprise which issues almost half of all mortgage-backed securities, and Freddie Mac, the McLean, Virginia-based mortgage-finance company, had “agreed to accept responsibility” for their conduct, the SEC said.
In the lawsuits, the SEC said Syron, Mudd and others understated the lenders’ exposure to subprime mortgage loans. From 2007 to 2008, Freddie Mac executives said the company’s exposure was between $2 billion and $6 billion when it was actually as high as $244 billion, according to one SEC complaint. From 2006 to 2008, Washington-based Fannie Mae executives said the firm’s exposure to subprime mortgage and reduced documentation loans was about $4.8 billion when it was nearly 10 times greater, according to the regulator.
“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives told the world that their subprime exposure was substantially smaller than it really was,” Robert Khuzami, director of the SEC’s enforcement division, said today in a statement. “These material misstatements occurred during a time of acute investor interest in financial institutions’ exposure to subprime loans, and misled the market about the amount of risk on the company’s books.”
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