SEC Charges Goldman With Civil FraudRegulator alleges misleading statements and omissions regarding subprime securities.By Lee Conrad, On Wall StreetThe Securities & Exchange Commission sued Goldman Sachs for securities fraud today, saying that the financial powerhouse made “materially misleading statements and omissions” regarding a structured product sold to investors.The product was tied to the performance of subprime residential mortgages and was structured and marketed in early 2007, just when the U.S. housing market first showed signs of strain, the suit said.The SEC alleged that investors were not told that hedge fund Paulson & Co. had a hand in the selection of residential mortgages that were part of the structured product.  Paulson subsequently made a profit of about $1 billion from this product by betting that the housing market would fall.After the selection of the portfolio for this product, Paulson effectively shorted the residential mortgage backed market by using credit default swaps. The suit says that  “Paulson had an economic incentive to choose [residential mortgages] that it expected to experience credit events in the near future.” And Goldman’s product did not disclose Paulson’s contrarian economic interests. Indeed, Paulson’s selection process for this product favored borrowers with adjustable rate mortgages, relatively low FICO scores, and who were located in states like Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada, which had recently experienced steep inclines in home value.Goldman said in a statement that the SEC’s charges are “completely unfounded in law and fact and we will vigorously contest them and defend the firm and its reputation.”The Securities & Exchange Commission sued Goldman Sachs for securities fraud Friday, saying the financial powerhouse made “materially misleading statements and omissions” regarding a structured product sold to investors.

Subscribe Now

Access to premium content including in-depth coverage of mutual funds, hedge funds, 401(K)s, 529 plans, and more.

3-Week Free Trial

Insight and analysis into the management, marketing, operations and technology of the asset management industry.