By Jonathan Stempel and Joe Rauch
NEW YORK/ORLANDO, Fla., Feb 4 (Reuters) – New York’s attorney general charged Bank of America Corp former Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis and former Chief Financial Officer Joe Price with fraud for allegedly misleading shareholders about the acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission separately said Bank of America agreed to pay a $150 million civil fine and bolster disclosure and governance practices to settle its two lawsuits alleging poor disclosure of Merrill’s losses and $3.6 billion of bonus payouts. That accord requires court approval.
Thursday’s civil lawsuit by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo could complicate efforts by new Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan to revive the largest U.S. bank.
Moynihan replaced Lewis, who retired under pressure at the end of 2009 after four decades at the bank.
Lewis, 62, joins Countrywide Financial Corp’s Angelo Mozilo among major U.S. financial services chief executives to face civil regulatory fraud charges over conduct since a global credit crisis began in the middle of 2007.