A New York law firm has filed a shareholder lawsuit against the largest mortgage lending company, Countrywide Financial Corp., for allegedly backdating stock options.The complaint alleges that certain Countrywide executives and directors "manipulated the prices of stock option grants," according to the law firm Stull, Stull & Brody. Countrywide had not commented on the suit by MortgageWire's deadline. Backdating stock options allows companies to report lower compensation costs and allows recipients to reap larger benefits. Stull, Stull & Brody has filed similar lawsuits against other companies. It is also investigating other companies that have received a letter of inquiry from the Securities and Exchange Commission or been contacted by a U.S. attorney's office or other federal agency relating to backdating.

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