May 25, 2017

Fannie Mae and KPMG to Pay Investors $153 Million

The settlement was announced on Tuesday by the Ohio attorney general, who had served as lead plaintiff in the case, representing state pension funds that owned the stock.

The settlement stemmed from a time when Fannie Mae was led by Franklin D. Raines, a former director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Bill Clinton and a man who was deemed to be quite powerful in Washington.

The regulator of Fannie Mae had usually deferred to it, and Mr. Raines initially insisted the regulator was wrong about the accounting issues. He drew support from both the Fannie Mae board and from KPMG, the auditing firm that had certified the books that the regulator criticized.

Mr. Raines asked that the staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission review the accounting, but stuck to his position even after the S.E.C. concluded Fannie had erred. It was not until the regulator, then known as the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, demanded his ouster that the board fired him. At the same time, it dismissed KPMG.

The S.E.C. and oversight office reports concluded that Fannie had run roughshod over accounting rules in order to report profits that were not volatile, which it believed would reassure investors. The regulator said that in one case KPMG had concluded Fannie was wrong, but evidently yielded on the basis that the amount involved, about $200 million, was not material.

The settlement came after the federal judge hearing the case, Richard J. Leon, urged the parties to enter mediation. A statement by the regulator said the mediator had recommended the settlement terms.

A spokesman for KPMG said the accounting firm and Fannie Mae would share equally in the payment. He said the settlement would have no effect on the audit firm’s finances, since it had set aside reserves to cover the liability.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/08/business/fannie-mae-and-kpmg-to-pay-investors-153-million.html?partner=rss&emc=rss