Former Countrywide Employee Arrested For Stealing, Selling Customer Identities

The FBI has announced that a former Countrywide employee and his accomplice were arrested on charges related to “illegal access of computers containing personal information,” and “illegal sale of the data.” A criminal complaint filed last Friday alleges that one of the men, Rene L. Rebollo Jr., a senior financial analyst for Countrywide Home Loan’s subprime mortgage division (who was let go in July), had been harvesting data from Countrywide’s computers for the past two years — downloading and storing the information on personal flash drives.

Rebollo would then sell these “leads” to another man,Wahid Siddiqi, for $500 per batch. The FBI says that Mr. Rebollo admitted that he profited approximately $50,000 to $70,000 from selling the data, which included the Social Security numbers of as many as 2 million mortgage applicants.

The LA Times says:

Rebollo would copy information on about 20,000 customers at a time on Sunday nights by using a [Countrywide] computer that did not have the same security features that other machines in the office had, according to the affidavit by FBI Special Agent Richard P. Ryan.

At that rate, the U.S. attorney’s office said, Rebollo would have compromised up to 2 million customer profiles for about 2.5 cents each — an astonishingly small amount considering the importance of the material. Mortgage leads are among the most expensive for sale because of the potential payoffs to intermediaries when loans are made.

To top it off, not only was this guy selling his customers SSNs, he wasn’t even very good at it, said Beth Givens, director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse:

“This guy obviously didn’t do his homework. He doesn’t know the value of these on the black market,” she said.

Countrywide insider stole mortgage applicants’ data, FBI says
[LA Times](Thanks, Alison!)
(Photo: So Cal Metro )

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.