First, read this post over at Calculated Risk if you're interested in lazy lying lawyers, the operational nightmares of a wave of millions of foreclosures, or just general Countrywide greed and incompetence.
Then, today's Wall Street Journal brings joyous news: FBI investigates Countrywide. For securities fraud, lying about its financial condition, and inflating the value of its mortgages. The same article also states:
Countrywide also is the subject of a class-action, securities-fraud civil lawsuit by various government pension funds and their managers, including the city and state of New York. The lawsuit identifies more than 25 firms that helped Countrywide package and sell mortgage-backed securities, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. The firms have denied any wrongdoing.
Countrywide "misled investors by falsely representing that Countrywide had strict and selective underwriting and loan origination practices, ample liquidity that would not be jeopardized by negative changes in the credit and housing markets, and a conservative approach that set it apart from other mortgage lenders," the suit alleges.
That last bit is the good part. If investors who bought hundreds of billions of mortgages from Countrywide can persuade a court that the lending standards were fraudulent, then Countrywide is, as Saget would say, f&^*ed.
I'll bet that $160 million reverse break-up fee is looking pretty tasty, eh, Bank of America?