So this is pretty weird, but did any of you catch last week’s news that Countrywide Financial Corp. CEO Angelo Mozilo has been accused of fraud by the SEC? Just add it to the list of corrupt business practices running rampant in this country over the past few years. Mozilo is facing charges with two other executives, as well. From CNN:
The trio was charged with deliberately misleading investors by telling them the company was a quality lender of mostly prime mortgages and had prudent underwriting standards, while it actually was engaging in very risky lending practices in order to build and maintain market share.
Mozilo was also charged with insider trading for selling his Countrywide stock for nearly $140 million in profits while knowing that Countrywide’s business model was deteriorating.
I only bring this to your attention because I think we’re started to become deadened to news like this. We shouldn’t let Countrywide simply be “added to the tally.” What’s worse is that our own state government propped up Countrywide in 2005. In 2004, Gov. Perry announced $20 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund would be going to Countrywide in exchange for jobs. Fantastic. Let me guess, the economy tanked, they got our money and we got few, if any, jobs?
If the Housing Crisis blog hadn’t concluded, it could easily have added this chapter to its sad, sad tale. Anyway, here’s Gov. Perry in his own words (from his own Web site, no less… might be time to take this speech down, eh?):
Angelo Mozilo, thank you for your commitment to creating jobs and greater opportunity for the people of Texas. I also want to thank the city and county officials, as well as numerous economic development and business leaders who worked as a team to bring this project to fruition.
Less than five years later, thanks again.