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EXCLUSIVE-Former Fannie Mae CEO settles crisis-related lawsuit with SEC
August 22, 2016 / 6:40 PM / a year ago

EXCLUSIVE-Former Fannie Mae CEO settles crisis-related lawsuit with SEC

NEW YORK, Aug 22 (Reuters) - In one of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s biggest cases tied to the 2008 financial crisis, former Fannie Mae Chief Executive Daniel Mudd has reached a settlement for $100,000, according to court papers filed on Monday.

The relatively small settlement, disclosed in papers filed in federal court in Manhattan, resolves a 2011 lawsuit by the SEC accusing Mudd of misleading investors about Fannie Mae’s exposure to risky mortgages before the crisis.

The deal concludes one of the SEC’s few remaining cases tied to the housing downturn and financial crisis. Mudd was the last of six executives at mortgage funding giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac sued by the SEC in 2011 to reach a settlement.

Like Mudd, the other five defendants reached relatively small settlements, none exceeding $250,000, despite facing SEC suits in what were among its biggest cases to arise from the financial crisis and mortgage meltdown.

Mudd had continued to litigate alone and was to face trial in November. He did not admit wrongdoing in settling.

“I appreciate Fannie Mae and the current leadership of the SEC stepping in to end a case that should have never been brought,” Mudd told Reuters.

The SEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mudd led Fannie Mae as a national housing bubble grew to bursting point from December 2004 to September 2008, when the Treasury Department effectively took control of the company.

That same month, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc filed for bankruptcy as Wall Street was rattled by a wave of mortgage defaults.

Officials injected taxpayer money to stabilize Fannie and a sibling company, Freddie Mac, which were conceived by Washington to promote home ownership and had helped underwrite a share of the easy-to-get subprime loans.

The SEC subsequently sued Mudd and the five other Fannie and Freddie executives in 2011, accusing them of downplaying the companies’ exposure to risky loans.

The SEC said Fannie Mae concealed exposure to more than $100 billion of subprime loans and $341 billion of Alt-A loans. Mudd denied wrongdoing and contended the regulator lacked hard evidence to back its claims.

In September 2015, Fannie Mae’s former chief risk officer, Enrico Dallavecchia, and former Executive Vice President Thomas Lund agreed to pay $25,000 and $10,000 respectively to settle their SEC cases.

Five months earlier, Syron and former Freddie Mac executives Patricia Cook and Donald Bisenius settled their cases for $250,000, $50,000 and $10,000, respectively.

The case is U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission v. Mudd, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 11-9202. (Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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