Countrywide Financial Facing Federal Criminal Probe

A newspaper is reporting that federal authorities are picking up the pace in a criminal investigation of former mortgage giant Countrywide Financial and its role in the meltdown in 2007 and 2008 of the U.S. housing and finance industries.

The Wall Street Journal cited anonymous sources in reporting Sunday that one of several federal investigations now under way is a criminal probe of Countrywide. The paper didn't offer details on what charges could emerge.

The paper said a grand jury began hearing testimony about Countrywide last year.

No criminal charges have been filed against corporate leaders in the larger federal probe.

Three Countrywide executives face a civil lawsuit the Securities and Exchange Commission filed last year.

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