Countrywide Financial - 2008
The FBI on Friday arrested a former Countrywide Financial Corp. employee and another man in an alleged scheme to steal and sell sensitive personal information, including Social Security numbers. The breach occurred over a two-year period though July. The insider was a senior financial analyst at Full Spectrum Lending, Countrywide's subprime lending division. The alleged data thief was said to have downloaded about 20,000 customer profiles each week and sold files with that many names for $500, according to the affidavit. He typically would e-mail the data in Excel spreadsheets to his buyers, often using computers at Kinko's copying and business center stores. Some, perhaps most, and possibly all the names were being sold to people in the mortgage industry to make new pitches. UPDATE (1/30/2009): Bank of America will pay Connecticut $350,000 as part of a settlement. The bank will also provide at least $25,000 to reimburse Connecticut residents forced to pay for freezing and unfreezing their credit reports.UPDATE (4/09/2010): Employees of Countrywide Financial stole and sold "tens of thousands, or millions" of customers' personal financial information, invading their privacy and exposing them to identity theft, according to class action claims in Ventura County Court, CA. Sixteen named plaintiffs sued Countrywide Financial, Countrywide Home Loans, and Bank of America, which bought Countrywide, the poster boy for the subprime mortgage crisis. UPDATE (5/08/2010): For information about the settlement, visit www.CWdataclaims.com or call (866) 940-3612.UPDATE (8/24/2010): Bank of America has settled over 30 lawsuits involving Countrywide Financial customer data theft. As many as 17 million customers who received a mortgage or used Countrywide to service a mortgage before July 1, 2008 will receive reimbursement and identity theft insurance. Identity theft claims can be filed after September 6.UPDATE (9/28/2011): A former employee responsible for the breach was sentenced to eight months in prison and ordered to repay $1.2 million in costs.UPDATE (7/13/2012): A small group of people objected to a proposed settlement and decided to split from a larger class action lawsuit. A court dismissed their claim because they could not sufficiently prove an out of pocket loss.