Financial Regulatory Forum

New York charges Bank of America, ex-CEO with fraud; SEC settles

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.

Bank of America agrees to give U.S. more details on Merrill

People walk past a Bank of America branch in New York August 13, 2009. (File Photo) REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES BUSINESS)

Elinor Comlay and Rachelle Younglai
NEW YORK/WASHINGTON, Oct 13 (Reuters) – Bank of America Corp’s decision to hand over protected information on what it knew about Merrill Lynch before it merged paves the way for the bank to settle a number of federal investigations and start anew after Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis departs.
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NEWSMAKER-Bank of America CEO Lewis: Fallen hero

Bank of America's Ken Lewis joins TARP recipient financial institution leaders before they testify before House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, in this  February 11, 2009 file photo. Bank of America Corp shareholders voted to oust Lewis as chairman of the board on April 29, 2009 after months of mounting criticism of his stewardship of the largest U.S. bank. REUTERS/Larry Downing/Files (UNITED STATES BUSINESS POLITICS HEADSHOT IMAGES OF THE DAY)   By Jonathan Stempel
   NEW YORK, Sept 30 (Reuters) – A little over a year ago, Bank of America Corp <BAC.N> Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis was a hero on Wall Street with his audacious purchase — some would say rescue from certain collapse — of Merrill Lynch & Co, following less than two days of talks. (more…)

Cuomo subpoenas 5 Bank of America directors

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo answers questions during a news conference held on Wall Street in New York October 15, 2008. Cuomo is investigating what he contends is "unwarranted and outrageous" spending by American International Group Inc. even as the struggling insurance giant receives $123 billion of U.S. government funding to stay alive.    REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES)   By Jonathan Stempel
   NEW YORK, Sept 16 (Reuters) – Ratcheting up pressure on the largest U.S. bank, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has subpoenaed five current or former Bank of America Corp <BAC.N> directors to learn what they knew about Merrill Lynch & Co’s problems as the companies prepared to merge. (more…)

ANALYSIS-SEC has few options, none good, in BofA case

A woman walks past the Merrill Lynch logo outside their offices in the City of London March 6, 2009.  Merrill Lynch discovered a trading "irregularity" during a recent investigation of the troubled investment bank's London trading positions, the company said on Friday. The trading issue, which Merrill did not quantify, was the latest black eye for the bank, which agreed to be acquired by Bank of America Corp last Sept. 15, the same morning that Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc went bankrupt. REUTERS/Andrew Winning (BRITAIN)   By Jonathan Stempel
   NEW YORK, Sept 15 (Reuters) – Stung by a federal judge’s rejection of settlement efforts with Bank of America Corp <BAC.N>, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has a few ways to proceed in the case. None is good. (more…)

Bank of America-SEC bonus pact rejected; Cuomo eyes charges

Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis pauses as he speaks at the National Urban League Conference in Chicago July 30, 2009. REUTERS/John Gress By Jonathan Stempel and Grant McCool
NEW YORK, Sept 14 (Reuters) – A federal judge rejected Bank of America Corp’s $33 million settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over Merrill Lynch & Co bonuses as a contrivance, and New York’s top legal officer prepared to sue senior bank executives.

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Bank of America, U.S. SEC say execs not liable on Merrill bonuses

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis in this  February 11, 2009 file photo. Bank of America Corp shareholders voted to oust Lewis as chairman of the board on April 29, 2009 after months of mounting criticism of his stewardship of the largest U.S. bank. REUTERS/Larry Downing/Files By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK, Sept 9 (Reuters) – Bank of America Corp and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission made a third and perhaps final push to convince a federal judge to approve a settlement over the alleged misleading disclosure of Merrill Lynch & Co bonuses, saying executives should not be charged.

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NY’s Cuomo may charge Bank of America executives over Merrill

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo answers questions during a news conference held on Wall Street in New York October 15, 2008. NEW YORK, Sept 8 (Reuters) – New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo threatened on Tuesday to file charges accusing top Bank of America Corp  executives of failing to disclose essential details about its takeover of Merrill Lynch & Co.

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Bank of America to pay $33 million to settle charges over Merrill bonuses

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis By Grant McCool
NEW YORK, Aug 3 (Reuters) – Bank of America Corp has agreed to pay $33 million to settle charges by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it made false and misleading statements to investors about bonuses when it took over Merrill Lynch & Co. (more…)

Bonuses topped profits at some U.S. bailout banks – NY attorney general

AIG/CUOMO By Grant McCool

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bonuses paid to executives at nine banks that received U.S. government bailout money in 2008 were greater than net income at some of the banks, the office of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday.

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