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Printed from the Charlotte Observer - www.CharlotteObserver.com
Posted: Wednesday, Sep. 10, 2008

Countrywide warns of security breach

By Christina Rexrode
Published in: Business

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Some customers of Countrywide Financial Corp. are learning that their personal information may have been sold by a former employee.

The Los Angeles division of the FBI arrested Rene Rebollo, a former financial analyst for Countrywide's subprime mortgage division, last month. Investigators say Rebollo admitted to giving out customers' account information to third parties over two years. He estimated that he profited by as much as $70,000 on the sales, the FBI said. He has pleaded not guilty.

Countrywide, a California mortgage company that was bought by Charlotte-based Bank of America Corp. this summer, sent letters to customers – including some in Charlotte – whose accounts may have been accessible to Rebollo. The FBI says he was terminated by Countrywide in July.

Susan Martin, a spokeswoman for Countrywide, said the company alerted the FBI when it noticed the breach. She said she couldn't specify how many customers might be involved, due the pending federal investigation. She said there has been no evidence that these customers have been victims of identity theft or fraud.

Countrywide told customers it will monitor their mortgage accounts for suspicious activities, and offered to pay for two years of credit monitoring by an outside company for these customers.

“We value our customer relations so much, and keeping customer information protected is a top priority,” Martin said.

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