Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler and Attorney General John Kroger today announced a securities lawsuit against Countrywide Financial Corp. to recover losses to the state pension and workers’ compensation funds caused by false statements that improperly inflated the prices of Countrywide’s stock and bonds.
A class action lawsuit previously reached a settlement with Countrywide that may have netted the state less than $500,000 on $14 million in losses. So Treasurer Wheeler and Attorney General Kroger decided it was in the state’s best interest to opt out and file their own lawsuit.
“It is time to foreclose on Countrywide’s effort to pay so little for costing Oregonians so much,” said Treasurer Wheeler, who sits on the Oregon Investment Council and has a fiduciary duty to protect public assets and maximize the returns for beneficiaries of trust funds including the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund.
“Oregon will not accept pennies on the dollar when Wall Street defrauds Oregonians,” said Attorney General Kroger.
“It is important that we protect the interests of SAIF’s policyholders and injured workers,” said Brenda Rocklin, SAIF Corporation president and CEO.
Countrywide was among the nation’s largest mortgage lenders. In 2005, Countrywide originated over $490 billion in mortgage loans.
The Office of State Treasurer and the Oregon Investment Council bought and sold shares in Countrywide stock and bonds between 2004 and March 2008 on behalf of Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund (OPERF) and the Industrial Accident Fund (IAF), the SAIF workers’ compensation investment fund.