The North Carolina state treasurer has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate stock sales by Countrywide Financial Corp. founder, chairman, and chief executive Angelo Mozilo.The letter to SEC Chairman Christopher Cox from North Carolina Treasurer Richard H. Moore says, "I was shocked to learn that CEO Angelo Mozilo apparently manipulated his trading plans to cash in, just as the subprime crisis was heating up and Countrywide's fortunes were cooling off." According to the letter, Mr. Mozilo accelerated his stock selling as the publicly traded lender's fortunes continued to wane. (Over the past few years, Mr. Mozilo has exercised options and sold more than $300 million worth of stock.) North Carolina pension funds own at least 500,000 shares of Countrywide stock. The request to investigate comes as Mr. Mozilo continues to exercise options and sell shares in the ailing lender. (On Oct. 10, Mr. Mozilo exercised options at $9.94 and sold $2.6 million worth of stock.) In about two weeks, Countrywide will release its third-quarter earnings. Morgan Stanley recently said Countrywide could lose at least $2.4 billion in the quarter. At deadline time, Countrywide's spokesman Rick Simon had not returned a telephone call about the North Carolina request.

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