Citigroup has agreed to pay $285 million to settle civil fraud charges that it misled buyers of complex mortgage investments just as the housing market was starting to collapse.
The Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday that the big Wall Street bank bet against the deal in 2007 and made $160 million in fees and profits. Investors lost millions. Citigroup neither admitted nor denied the SEC's allegations in the settlement.
"We are pleased to put this matter behind us and are focused on contributing to the economic recovery, serving our clients and growing responsibly," Citigroup said in a statement.
The penalty is the biggest targeting Wall Street firms that mislead investors ahead of the 2008 financial crisis since Goldman Sachs paid $550 million to settle similar charges last year. JPMorgan Chase also settled similar charges in June and paid $153.6 million.
All of the cases have involved so-called collateralized debt obligations. Those are securities backed by pools of other assets.
TVNL Comment: No one goes to jail for fraud. No one. That's why there are so many people who cheer for #occupywallstreet.