Freddie Mac acting CFO found dead in apparent suicide
U.S. officials express condolences to Kellermann's family and colleagues
By Sam Mamudi & Ronald D. Orol, MarketWatch
April 22, 2009
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- The acting chief financial officer of Freddie Mac was found dead at his home Wednesday morning in an apparent suicide.
David Kellermann, acting chief financial officer at the government-controlled mortgage company, was found dead at his home in Fairfax County, Va.
Kellermann was named acting CFO in late September, three weeks after the government took charge of Freddie Mac. He had previously been senior vice president and corporate controller there.
His death came as staff from the Securities and Exchange Commission and Justice Department were probing the home-finance company about issues including possible accounting violations.
Freddie disclosed the investigation in a March 11 filing, and the firm said it was "cooperating fully in these matters."
According to the SEC filing, Freddie said it received a federal grand jury subpoena Sept. 26 from the U.S. attorney's office for the southern district of New York. The subpoena sought documents related to accounting, disclosure and corporate-governance matters, according to the filing.
But that subpoena was later withdrawn and the investigation was taken over by the U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Virginia.
According to the filing, on Oct. 21, Freddie said the SEC had begun its own investigation, asking Freddie for documents. Specifically, on Jan. 23, Jan. 30 and Feb. 25, the SEC issued subpoenas for documents. The agency also began its own interviews of company employees, Freddie said in the filing.
In addition to the investigation, Freddie Mac received a request from the House Committee on Oversight and Investigations on Oct. 20 seeking documents for a hearing it held on Dec. 9.
Freddie Mac has received more than $30 billion in government support as the mortgage and credit crisis intensified.
Kellermann's apparent suicide surprised some key regulators in Washington, who expressed their condolences.
"On behalf of the Treasury family, we are deeply saddened by the news this morning of David Kellermann's death," said Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in a statement. "Our deepest sympathies are with his family and his colleagues at Freddie Mac during this difficult time."
The Federal Housing Finance Agency issued this statement: "For many years, we have known David as a person of the utmost ethical standards who was hardworking and knowledgeable in his field. As the Acting Chief Financial Officer of Freddie Mac during particularly challenging times, David was an inspiration to his staff and many others who were privileged to work with him. We extend our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues."
Kellermann's apparent suicide would be the latest of several putatively motivated by the financial crisis. French financier Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet killed himself in December after losing roughly $1 billion of his own and clients' money to the Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Bernard Madoff.
Seventy-four-year-old German billionaire Adolf Merckle in January committed suicide after the conglomerate he controlled, with investments in pharmaceuticals, cement and other sectors, experienced problems related to the global financial crisis.
In 2002, J. Clifford Baxter, a former Enron Corp. vice chairman, was found dead in his car in Houston, in an apparent suicide, after the company collapsed in a massive corruption scandal and bankruptcy filing.
Ronald D. Orol is a MarketWatch reporter, based in Washington.