The SEC accused the men of misleading shareholders about the quality of the loans on Countrywide's books. The civil complaint also accused Mozilo of acting on his inside knowledge of the company's precarious state when he sold shares between November 2006 and October 2007 ahead of its collapse, reaping more than $139 million.
The former Countrywide chairman is the nation's highest-profile defendant yet to face trial for risky business practices leading to the housing collapse that sent the country into recession.
In legal filings, regulators portrayed the three defendants as engaging in a single-minded pursuit of market dominance, even if it meant knowingly taking disastrous risks.
The company was a major player in the market for high-risk subprime mortgages and became the biggest U.S. mortgage lender overall before it spiraled into disaster when the mortgage meltdown hit.
Countrywide's lending practices are reportedly also the subject of a criminal probe in Los Angeles. Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, declined to comment about the situation.I am interested to see how the reported criminal probe plays out and to see what other fraud-related settlements come out of the subprime crisis.