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Countrywide Dances To Its Own Grave

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Painting a mental portrait of 200 Countrywide employees doing the Hustle did nothing to convince jurors that the eponymous mortgage program was not just a big plot to rip Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac off.

In a major win for the U.S. government, a jury Wednesday found Bank of America Corp. liable for fraud related to loans its Countrywide Financial Corp. unit sold to mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in a program called the "Hustle" in 2007 and 2008….

The jury of four men and six women in federal court in Manhattan on Wednesday also found Rebecca Mairone, a former Countrywide executive, liable for fraud for her role in leading the High-Speed Swim Lane, or Hustle, loan program….

Brendan Sullivan, a partner at Williams & Connolly LLP and a lawyer representing Bank of America, argued the government's logic was faulty. "The government thinks speed wipes out quality," he told the jury in his closing arguments. "The focus on speed is natural," he said.

Mr. Sullivan argued the bank's actions suggest it had no intention to commit fraud. "You would not normally announce a fraud at a 200-person meeting and play the Hustle dance," he said, referring to a company gathering announcing the new program.

Jury Decides Against BofA on 'Hustle' Program [WSJ]
Federal Prosecutors Emerge From Mortgage-Fraud Trial With New Weapon [WSJ]


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