Monday, January 7, 2013

The Memory Failures of Angelo Mozilo

The audacity of disgraced former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo is stunning.  In depositions recently made public, Mozilo claimed that he did not know the difference between "stated income" and "verified income" in connection with loan/mortgage applications.  This is too rich to not restate, the former Chief Executive Officer of an enormous lending institution claims under penalty of perjury, that he did not and does not know the difference between "stated" and "verified" income.  Seriously?

Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone first wrote about this "devastating amnesia" in his post "Angelo Mozilo, Former Countrywide CEO, Claims He Doesn't Know What 'Verified Income' Is."  Taibbi writes:  "Another day, another corporate titan suffering from devastating amnesia. This time, the memory-loss patient is none other than Angelo Mozilo, the former CEO of Countrywide Financial. . . .  If you were going to assign blame to any single person for the financial crisis, Angelo Mozilo would rank right up there with people like Lehman's idiot CEO Dick Fuld, deranged credit-default-swap peddler Joe Cassano of AIG's Financial Products unit, and deregulatory pioneers like Bob Rubin and Phil Gramm. Mozilo's role, however, was probably the single most shameful, as he represented the conscious decision of mortgage underwriters to abandon lending standards in order to claim ever-larger chunks of market share. . . . Angelo Mozilo, onetime CEO of America's biggest mortgage originator, is claiming that he didn't know the difference between verified and unverified income."

As previously discussed on the Corporate Justice Blog, Mozilo escaped jail time for his fraud in the years leading up to the mortgage crisis by simply settling with the SEC for just over $67 million dollars, a fraction of the over $500 million he banked as Countrywide CEO in the period leading up to the crash. 

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