LOS ANGELES- The Securities and Exchange Commission revealedthat former locally based Countrywide Financial CEO Angelo Mozilowill pay a record $22.5 million penalty to settle SEC charges thathe and two other former Countrywide executives misled investors asthe subprime mortgage crisis emerged. The settlement alsopermanently bars Mozilo from ever again serving as an officer ordirector of a publicly traded company.

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Mozilo’s financial penalty is the largest ever paid by a publiccompany’s senior executive in an SEC settlement, according to theSEC. Mozilo also agreed to $45 million in disgorgement ofill-gotten gains to settle the SEC’s disclosure violation andinsider trading charges against him, for a total financialsettlement of $67.5 million that will be returned to harmedinvestors.

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Former Countrywide COO David Sambol agreed to a settlement inwhich he is liable for $5 million in disgorgement and a $520,000penalty, and a three-year officer and director bar. Former chieffinancial officer Eric Sieracki agreed to pay a $130,000 penaltyand a one-year bar from practicing before the Commission. Insettling the SEC’s charges, the former executives neither admit nordeny the allegations against them. The penalties and disgorgementpaid by Sambol and Sieracki will also be returned to harmedinvestors.

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“Mozilo’s record penalty is the fitting outcome for a corporateexecutive who deliberately disregarded his duties to investors byconcealing what he saw from inside the executive suite—a loomingdisaster in which Countrywide was buckling under the weight ofincreasing risky mortgage underwriting, mounting defaults anddelinquencies, and a deteriorating business model,” says RobertKhuzami, director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement in aprepared statement.

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John McCoy, associate regional director of the SEC’s Division ofEnforcement, adds, “This settlement will provide affectedshareholders significant financial relief, and reinforces themessage that corporate officers have a personal responsibility toprovide investors with an accurate and complete picture of knownrisks and uncertainties facing a company.”

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The settlement was approved by the Honorable John F. Walter,United States District Judge for the Central District of Californiain a court hearing held today.

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As GlobeSt.com previouslyposted, the SEC filed charges against Mozilo, Sambol,and Sieracki on June 4, 2009, alleging that they failed to discloseto investors the significant credit risk that Countrywide wastaking on as a result of its efforts to build and maintain marketshare. Investors were misled by representations assuring them thatCountrywide was primarily a prime quality mortgage lender that hadavoided the excesses of its competitors. In reality, Countrywidewas writing increasingly risky loans and its senior executives knewthat defaults and delinquencies in its servicing portfolio as wellas the loans it packaged and sold as mortgage-backed securitieswould rise as a result, according to an SEC press release.

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Natalie Dolce

Natalie Dolce, editor-in-chief of GlobeSt.com and GlobeSt. Real Estate Forum, is responsible for working with editorial staff, freelancers and senior management to help plan the overarching vision that encompasses GlobeSt.com, including short-term and long-term goals for the website, how content integrates through the company’s other product lines and the overall quality of content. Previously she served as national executive editor and editor of the West Coast region for GlobeSt.com and Real Estate Forum, and was responsible for coverage of news and information pertaining to that vital real estate region. Prior to moving out to the Southern California office, she was Northeast bureau chief, covering New York City for GlobeSt.com. Her background includes a stint at InStyle Magazine, and as managing editor with New York Press, an alternative weekly New York City paper. In her career, she has also covered a variety of beats for M magazine, Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, FashionLedge.com, and Co-Ed magazine. Dolce has also freelanced for a number of publications, including MSNBC.com and Museums New York magazine.