NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Rebecca Mairone was a mid-level Countrywide executive in a hurry when the housing market was booming. And that life choice has cost her $1 million, and a public shaming.
The $1 million fine to a woman whom U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff on Wednesday described as "a relatively new employee who had to prove herself," was handed down by the judge as a penalty for what he called "an intentional scheme to misrepresent the quality of the mortgage loans that [Countrywide] processed."
Mairone worked on a program know internally at Countrywide as the "High Speed Swim Lane" (HSSL) and the "Hustle." Loans issued through the program were then sold to the so-called government-sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC).
Rakoff also fined Bank of America (BAC) which bought Countrywide in 2008, roughly $1.26 billion over the same scheme, which a civil jury had already determined to be fraudulent in Oct. 2013 in response to charges brought by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
"Evidence of the defendants' fraudulent scheme and fraudulent intent was ample," Rakoff wrote in his 19 page opinion.
Mairone was the scheme's "catalyst," according to Rakoff, choosing a word used by Countrywide's own employees to describe her role.
"Despite her implausible testimony to the contrary, from which the Court draws an adverse inference, there was convincing evidence that Ms. Mairone - the relatively new employee who had to prove herself - most aggressively pushed forward the HSSL fraud and most scathingly denounced those who raised concerns," Rakoff wrote.