SEC Looks at Stock Sales by Countrywide’s Mozilo

The Securities and Exchange Commission has been asked to investigate stock sales made by Angelo R. Mozilo, chief executive of the mortgage lender Countrywide Financial, in the months before its shares plummeted amid the deepening mortgage crisis.

In an Oct. 8 letter to the S.E.C. chairman, Christopher Cox, the state treasurer of North Carolina, Richard H. Moore, questioned changes Mr. Mozilo made to his arranged stock selling program, adjustments that allowed him to increase significantly his sales of Countrywide shares.

After starting a plan in October 2006, Mr. Mozilo twice raised the number of shares that could be sold: once in December 2006, when Countrywide stock was $40.50, and again in February, when it hit a high of $45.03. He has had gains of $132 million since starting the October 2006 plan and expects to sell his remaining shares by the end of the week, a move that will generate millions more.