Countrywide Financial Corp., now owned by Bank of America Corp., will have to reimburse as many as 17 million victims of the breach free and offer credit monitoring as a result of a settlement that was approved by a U.S. District Court Judge Thomas B. Russell in Kentucky. The Associated Press reports that the settlement calls for Countrywide give the victims, including anyone who obtained a mortgage and anyone who used Countrywide to service a mortgage before July 1, 2008, free credit monitoring and up to $50,000 in reimbursements per instance of identity theft, provided they actually lost something of value, were not reimbursed and can prove the loss more likely than not stemmed from the Countrywide breach.

A Bank of America spokeswoman said the settlement is "in the bank's best interest" to avoid additional legal expenses, and the bank looks forward to moving ahead with the settlement, according to the report.

Rene Rebollo Jr., a former employee of Countrywide, was arrested by FBI agents in September 2008. Federal investigators said Rebollo used a flash drive to download data about customers over a two-year span and then sold the information to Wahid Siddiqi of Thousand Oaks, Calif. Siddiqi pleaded guilty on Dec. 9 to 10 counts of fraud and admitted to selling the information to third parties, including an undercover FBI agent. Rebollo has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for trial in January.



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