Two men were arrested last week on charges related to the illegal access of computers containing personal identification information of Countrywide Home Loan customers and the illegal sale of the data, announced Salvador Hernandez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles, and United States Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien.
Rene L. Rebollo Jr., 36, of Pasadena, a former employee of Countrywide, was arrested this morning without incident at his residence by special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Rebollo is scheduled to make his initial court appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles.
A second man charged in the case — Wahid Siddiqi, 25, of Thousand Oaks – was arrested this afternoon by FBI agents, who received the assistance of the Simi Valley Police Department. Siddiqi, who allegedly purchased the identification data, is expected to make his initial court appearance on Monday.
According to a criminal complaint filed last night, the FBI, as well as investigators with Countrywide Financial, discovered a security breach at the company and initiated a joint investigation.
The complaint alleges that Rebollo was employed as a senior financial analyst for Countrywide Home Loan’s subprime mortgage division, Full Spectrum Lending in Pasadena. In his position, he had access to Countrywide computer databases, many of which contained sensitive information of Countrywide clients. Countrywide Financial is in the process of terminating Rebollo’s employment.
According to the complaint, Rebollo was interviewed by FBI agents last month and acknowledged that he was responsible for giving out account information belonging to Countrywide customers to third parties over the course of two years. Rebollo said he obtained the information from Countrywide computers at his workspace and saved the reports to personally owned flash drives, according to the complaint. After Rebollo saved the Countrywide Home Loan data on the flash drives, he left the Countrywide Home Loan premises with the intent to sell the data.
Rebollo opened a personal bank account specifically for the purpose of depositing and holding the illegal proceeds of the Countrywide data sales, and he estimated that he profited approximately $50,000 to $70,000 from the sale of the Countrywide-owned data, according to the complaint. Rebollo was requested by other individuals to obtain specific types of data
from Countrywide, and he was able to provide the information because of his access to many of Countrywide’s databases that contained information about clients from around the United States, according to the complaint.
Siddiqi was recorded by a confidential witness working for the FBI when he placed an order for personal profiles at a negotiated price, according to the complaint. Siddiqi subsequently met the confidential witness and delivered the data in exchange for cash. Copies of the discs were provided to Countrywide investigators for verification and authentication. Countrywide investigators are currently analyzing evidence to determine if any of their customers’ identities may have been compromised so that they can be formally notified and assisted in the immediate future.
A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
Rebollo is charged with of exceeding authorized access to the computer of a financial institution, a charge that carries a statutory maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. Siddiqi is charged with fraud and related activity in connection with access devices, a crime that carries a statutory maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
This case is a result of an investigation by the FBI. Investigators at Countrywide Financial provided considerable assistance and continue to fully cooperate with the FBI in this investigation.