SEC v. Goldstone, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72648 (D. N.M. June 3, 2016):
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiff Securities and Exchange Commission's Motion in Limine Regarding KPMG, filed March 17, 2016 (Doc. 390)("Motion"). The Court held a hearing on May 11, 2016. The primary issues are whether the Court should allow the Defendants1 to argue and introduce evidence that KPMG, the Defendants' former outside auditor: (i) had ample evidence to make informed OTTI2 and going-concern judgments; (ii) performed a sub-standard audit, when a normal audit could have discovered and possibly prevented the Defendants' alleged fraud; (iii) was subject to Plaintiff Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board ("PCAOB") investigations; or (iv) concluded, in its Restatement, that Thornburg Mortgage, Inc.'s management did not commit fraud and that its internal controls over financial reporting had no material weakness. The Court concludes that the SEC's proposed limits on the Defendants' testimony would de-contextualize KPMG's actions and that the jury must determine their significance. The Defendants cannot make [*3] arguments inconsistent with the Court's legal rulings, but the Court will not preclude the Defendants from introducing evidence that may show both that KPMG had all it needed or was incompetent, because the same evidence may show that the Defendants neither defrauded or intended to defraud KPMG. The risk of excluding relevant evidence is too great for the Court to pick and choose what might fit into a prohibited category and what might be in an allowed category. The Court will, however, allow the SEC to introduce evidence on its Enforcement Cooperation Program if the Defendants open the door by implying or suggesting that KPMG has reached a secret cooperation agreement with the SEC, or reached some form of agreement with the SEC.
1 Defendant Jane Starrett reached a settlement with Plaintiff Securities and Exchange Commission after the hearing on the Motion. See Transcript of Hearing at 3:10-12 (Marks)(taken May 20, 2016). The Court's references to the "Defendants" refer to all three Defendants solely for the purpose of this Memorandum Opinion and Order. The Court's citations to all transcripts refer to the court reporter's original, unedited versions; any final versions may contain slightly [*4] different page and/or line numbers.
2 An "impairment" is a "reduction in a company's stated capital." Impairment, Investopedia, http://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/impairment.asp (last visited June 10, 2013). An other-than-temporary-impairment ("OTTI") is an accounting designation that indicates that an entity does not expect to recover the asset's full value. See Other than temporary impairment (OTTI), NASDAQ: Financial Glossary (last visited May 30, 2016).
The Court takes its facts from the Complaint, filed March 13, 2012 (Doc. 1). The Court presents the facts solely to provide context for the Motion. It continues to adhere to the decisions on the facts it reached in its Unsealed Memorandum Opinion and Order, filed August 22, 2015 (Doc. 371)("Summary Judgment MOO").
The Defendants are former officers of Thornburg Mortgage: Larry A. Goldstone was the chief executive officer, Clarence G. Simmons, III, was the chief financial officer, and Jane E. Starrett was the chief accounting officer. See Complaint ¶ 1, at 1, filed March 13, 2012 (Doc. 1). The SEC alleges that the Defendants were involved in fraudulent misrepresentations and omissions made in connection with the 2007 Form 10-K.3 Complaint ¶¶ 1-3, at 1-2. The SEC asserts [*5] that the Defendants misled and withheld important financial information from Thornburg Mortgage's outside auditor, KPMG LLP, such as the impending collapse of a large European hedge fund that held mortgage-backed securities ("MBS") similar to the Thornburg Mortgage's adjustable rate mortgage ("ARM") securities.4 Complaint ¶¶ 76-79, at 22.
3 A Form 10-K is "[a] comprehensive summary report of a company's performance that must be submitted annually to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Typically, the 10-K contains much more detail than the annual report." 10-K, Investopedia, http://www.investopedia.com/terms/1/10-k.asp (last visited August 9, 2014). An annual report is "an annual publication that public corporations must provide to shareholders to describe their operations and financial conditions. It includes information such as company history, organizational structure, equity, holdings, earnings per share, subsidiaries, etc." 10-K, Investopedia, http://www.investopedia.com/terms/1/10-k.asp (last visited August 9, 2014).
4 An "adjustable rate mortgage" is a "mortgage in which the lender can periodically adjust the mortgage's interest rate in accordance with fluctuations in some external market index." Adjustable Rate Mortgage, Black's Law Dictionary 1102 (9th ed. 2009). [*6]
Thornburg Mortgage was a publicly traded single-family mortgage lender and real estate investment trust, founded in 1993, headquartered in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and was once the second-largest independent mortgage company in the United States of America after Countrywide Financial Corporation. See Complaint ¶ 2, at 1; id. ¶ 20, at 7. During the time relevant to the Complaint's allegations, Thornburg Mortgage's shares were traded on the New York Stock Exchange. See Complaint ¶ 20, at 7. Thornburg Mortgage's lending operations focused on "jumbo" and "super-jumbo"5 ARM securities; Thornburg Mortgage also purchased ARM securities that third parties originated. Complaint ¶ 21, at 7. Thornburg Mortgage paid out most of its earnings in dividends, and obtained financing for its mortgage and investment business through reverse repurchase agreements6 backed by ARM securities. See Complaint ¶ 3, at 2. Thornburg Mortgage's reverse repurchase agreements "typically consisted of a simultaneous sale of pledged securities to a lender at an agreed price in return for Thornburg Mortgage's agreement to repurchase the same securities at a future date (the maturity date) at a higher price." Complaint ¶ 22, [*7] at 7-8. The reverse repurchase agreements required Thornburg Mortgage to maintain a certain degree of liquidity and subjected Thornburg Mortgage to margin calls if the value of the ARM securities serving as collateral on the agreements fell below a specified level. See Complaint ¶ 22, at 8. A margin call would generally require Thornburg Mortgage to pay cash to reduce its loan amount or to pledge additional collateral to the lender, either on the same day that Thornburg Mortgage received the margin call or on the following day, unless the parties agreed otherwise. See Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. as Intermediating Agent for Citigroup Global Markets Limited and [Counterparty] Thornburg Mortgage, Inc., International Securities Lenders Association ISLA Global Master Securities Lending Agreement § 5.8, at 11, filed May 21, 2012 (Doc. 37-6)(brackets in original); Master Repurchase Agreement Between Greenwich Capital Markets, Inc., and Thornburg Mortgage, Inc. § 4(c) at 5, filed July 20, 2012 (Doc. 60-2); id. at § 11(a), at 7-8; Master Repurchase Agreement Between Credit Suisse First Boston Corporation and Thornburg Mortgage Asset Corporation § 4(c), at 4, filed July 20, 2012 (Doc. 60-3); id. at § 11(a), at 7; Complaint ¶ 23, at 8. Thornburg Mortgage's failure to timely meet a margin call would be an event of default and allowed a lender [*8] to declare Thornburg Mortgage in default, which would trigger cross-defaults on Thornburg Mortgage's other reverse repurchase agreements, and all lenders with whom Thornburg Mortgage had defaulted would then be allowed to seize and to sell the ARM securities collateralizing Thornburg Mortgage's loans. See Complaint ¶ 24, at 8. Receiving margin calls was part of Thornburg Mortgage's normal course of business, as the value of its ARM securities often fluctuated. See Complaint ¶ 25, at 8.
5 "Jumbo" and "super-jumbo," in reference to ARM securities, describe the amount of a mortgage. Super jumbo mortgage, Wikipedia (Dec. 24, 2012), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_jumbo_mortgage . These mortgages exceed the conforming loan limit that the Federal National Mortgage Association ("Fannie Mae") and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation ("Freddie Mac") set. Super jumbo mortgage, Wikipedia. Fannie Mae purchases and guarantees mortgages that meet its funding criteria. Fannie Mae, Investopedia, http://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/fanniemae.asp (last visited August 9, 2014). Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government-sponsored enterprises, that is, financial services corporations that the United States Congress created. See Fannie Mae, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fannie_Mae (last updated July 26, 2014); Freddie [*9] Mac, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freddie_Mac (last updated July 18, 2014); Government-Sponsored Enterprise, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government-sponsored_enterprise (last updated January 9, 2014). "Together, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchase or guarantee between 40 to 60% of all mortgages originated in the United States annually, depending upon market conditions and consumer trends." Fannie Mae, Investopedia. The conforming limits that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac set vary by county, but the conforming loan limit for 2013 and 2014 for most of the United States (including all of New Mexico) is $417,000.00. See FHA Announces Conforming Loan Limits for 2014, released November 26, 2013, http://www.fhfa.gov/webfiles/25847/CLL2014112613Final.pdf . Higher-value areas, such as the District of Columbia, have conforming loan limits of up to $625,500.00. See FHA Announces Conforming Loan Limits for 2014, released November 26, 2013, http://www.fhfa.gov/webfiles/25847/CLL2014112613Final.pdf . "Jumbo" mortgage loans are loans that exceed the local conforming loan limit and have higher interest rates, because of the increased risk of issuing a larger loan. Jumbo Mortgage, Wikipedia (Oct. 11, 2013), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumbo_mortgage . The term "super-jumbo" is not expressly defined or regulated, but mortgage companies use it internally and independently to set loan parameters. See Super jumbo mortgage, Wikipedia. [*10] The definition may vary according to a particular lender's criteria and the area where the mortgage is being sought. See Super jumbo mortgage, Wikipedia. The United States government did not explicitly guarantee Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac's securities, but there was widespread belief of an implied federal guarantee. See Fannie Mae, Wikipedia; Freddie Mac, Wikipedia.
6 A "repurchase agreement" is a "short-term loan agreement by which one party sells a security to another party but promises to buy back the security on a specified date at a specified price. Often shortened to repo." Repurchase Agreement, Black's Law Dictionary 1419 (9th ed. 2009)(emphasis in original). A "reverse repurchase agreement" is the same agreement from the buyer's point of view rather than the seller's. Repurchase agreement, Wikipedia (Nov. 23, 2013), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repurchase_agreement . "For the party selling the security (and agreeing to repurchase it in the future) it is a repo; for the party on the other end of the transaction (buying the security and agreeing to sell in the future) it is a reverse repurchase agreement." Reverse Repurchase Agreement, Investopedia (Dec. 8, 2013), http://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/reverserepurchaseagreement.asp .
Citigroup Global Markets, Inc.'s margin call on February 21, 2008, [*11] was the largest of the three margin calls that Thornburg Mortgage could not immediately meet -- $196 million. See Complaint ¶ 33, at 10. In response to Thornburg Mortgage's inability to meet the Citigroup Global margin call on February 21, 2008, Citigroup Global sent a letter to Goldstone and Simmons, stating that Thornburg Mortgage had breached the parties' reverse repurchase agreement and reserving Citigroup Global's right to declare Thornburg Mortgage in default. See Complaint ¶ 3, at 2; id. ¶ 34, at 10-11 (citing Letter from Stephen G. Malekian to Thornburg Mortgage, Inc., Re: The Global Master Securities Lending Agreement dated as of September 20, 2007 Between Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. as Intermediating Agent for Citigroup Global Markets Limited and Together with Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. and Thornburg Mortgage (dated Feb. 21, 2008), filed May 21, 2012 (Doc. 37-7)("Citigroup Global Letter")). Citigroup Global made clear that, although Citigroup Global was not exercising its rights under the reverse repurchase agreement, it was not waiving its right to declare Thornburg Mortgage in default or to amend the underlying reverse repurchase agreement. See Complaint ¶ 34, at [*12] 11. In an email from Goldstone to Simmons, Starrett, and others, dated February 21, 2008, Goldstone stated that he had negotiated a "payment plan with Citigroup Global in order to satisfy the call by the end of [the following] week[.]" Complaint ¶ 61, at 18 (alterations in original)(quoting Email from Clay Simmons to Nyira Gitana, Subject: FW: TMA Update at 2, sent February 21, 2008, at 9:30 a.m., filed May 21, 2012 (Doc. 37-10)). Thornburg Mortgage paid the Citigroup Global margin call over seven days and made the final payment of seventy-five million dollars on February 27, 2008. See Complaint ¶ 35, at 11.
In the last week of February, 2008, Thornburg Mortgage had to sell the interest-only portions of its ARM loans ("I/O Strip Transactions") to generate sufficient cash to meet the margin calls it received in the second half of the month. Complaint ¶ 36, at 11. The I/O Strip Transactions further depleted Thornburg Mortgage's liquidity to meet margin calls. See Complaint ¶ 36, at 11. In an email from Goldstone to Simmons and Starrett on February 22, 2008, Goldstone informed them of some of Thornburg Mortgage's plans to raise liquidity to meet margin calls: "'Citi sold two of [Thornburg Mortgage's] IO securities7 as well for a gain of approximately [*13] $25 million and net proceeds to Citi of $10 million.'" Complaint ¶ 67, at 19-20 (alteration in original)(quoting Email from Larry Goldstone to Garret Thornburg, Anne Anderson, David Ater, Eliot Cutler, Francis Mullin III, Ike Kalangis, Michael Jeffers, Owen Lopez, and Stuart Sherman, Subject: TMA Update - Friday Morning, February 22 at 2, sent February 22, 2008 at 8:42 a.m., filed May 21, 2012 (Doc. 37-8 at 2)("Feb. 22, 2008 Email")). In an email sent February 25, 2008, Goldstone informed Simmons and Starrett that Thornburg Mortgage was "'moving towards resolving [its] margin issues'" through, among other strategies, having "'sold some additional IO securities[.]'" Complaint ¶ 68, at 20 (quoting Email from Larry Goldstone to the Thornburg Mortgage Board of Directors, sent February 25, 2008, at 5:03 p.m., filed May 21, 2012 (Doc. 37-9)("Feb. 25, 2008 Email")).
7 "Interest only (IO) strips are the interest portion of mortgage, Treasury, or bond payments, which [are] separated and sold individually from the principal portion of those same payments." Interest Only (IO) Strips, Investopedia (Apr. 22, 2016), http://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/iostrips.asp .
The Defendants planned to quickly raise cash to satisfy Thornburg Mortgage's future [*14] margin calls after filing the 2007 Form 10-K. See Complaint ¶ 32, at 10. The Defendants did not plan to disclose that Thornburg Mortgage was late in meeting margin calls. See Complaint ¶ 32, at 10. In an email, from Goldstone to Simmons and Starrett, on February 22, 2008, Goldstone stated that Thornburg Mortgage was "'planning to sell two of [its] TMA securities'" to meet margin calls and that this sale would "'allow us to keep our current situation quiet while we deal with it.'" Complaint ¶ 67, at 20 (alterations in original)(quoting Feb. 22, 2008 Email at 2).
The Defendants "scrambled" to meet Thornburg Mortgage's margin calls before filing the 2007 Form 10-K. Complaint ¶ 30, at 9-10. In an email from Goldstone dated February 22, 2008, which Simmons and Starrett received, Goldstone stated:
We don't want to disclose our current circumstance until it is resolved. Our goal for resolution i[s] the filing of our 10-K. How we disclose this issue and what we say will depend on where we are next week when we need to file. But, our plan is to say that we had margin calls and all have been met.
Complaint ¶ 30, at 10 (alteration in original)(quoting Feb. 22, 2008 Email at 2). Goldstone also discussed [*15] strategies that would allow Thornburg Mortgage "'to keep [its] current situation quiet while we deal with it'" in the same email. Complaint ¶ 31, at 10 (alteration in original)(quoting Feb. 22, 2008 Email at 2). Goldstone also stated: "'Hopefully our disclosure will be a simple one, meaning all margin calls have been met.'" Complaint ¶ 31, at 10 (quoting Feb. 22, 2008 Email at 3).
Goldstone and Simmons also learned, on February 27, 2008, that a large European hedge fund with substantial MBS holdings, similar to those Thornburg Mortgage held, was collapsing. See Complaint ¶ 38, at 12. Goldstone anticipated that the European hedge fund's collapse would negatively affect Thornburg Mortgage's ARM securities and sent an email to Simmons on February 27, 2008, in which he said:
Also, you should know that a large Alt-A hedge fund in Europe is blowing up this afternoon. UBS credit just mentioned it to me. They got hit with 20 point haircuts on Alt-A and AAA's overnight. I think we will get this a little more gradually, but we should be ready for it.8
Complaint ¶ 38, at 12 (quoting Email from Larry Goldstone to Clay Simmons at 2, send February 27, 2008, at 3:48 p.m., filed May 21, 2012 (Doc. 37-21)("Feb. 27, 2008 Goldstone/Simmons [*16] Email")). Simmons sent an email to Goldstone and others regarding the potential collapse of the European hedge fund, stating: "'This makes it even more critical to be done with Citi today so we can get the K filed.'" Complaint ¶ 39, at 12 (quoting Email from Clay Simmons to Thornburg Mortgage Employee Patrick Feldman and Larry Goldstone at 2, sent February 27, 2008, at 8:08 a.m., filed May 21, 2012 (Doc. 37-20)("Feb. 27, 2008 Simmons/Feldman Email")). Later on February 27, 2008, Simmons sent an email to Starrett, in which he stated: "'I gave [Thornburg's SEC Reporting manager] a 6:00 AM Thursday deadline to file the K. I do not want there to be any issues based on Thursday activity.'" Complaint ¶ 40, at 12 (alteration in original)(quoting Email from Clay Simmons to Jane Starrett at 2, sent February 27, 2008, at 10:35 a.m., filed May 21, 2012 (Doc. 37-38)("Feb. 27, 2008 Simmons/Starrett Email")).
8 A "haircut" is "[t]he difference between prices at which a market maker can buy and sell a security," or "[t]he percentage by which an asset's market value is reduced for the purpose of calculating capital requirement, margin and collateral levels." Haircut, Investopedia, http://www.investopedia.com/terms/h/haircut.asp (last visited August 23, 2014). An "Alt-A mortgage" is an abbreviation for "Alternative A-paper," which generally is considered riskier than A-paper, [*17] but less risky than subprime mortgages. Alt-A, Wikipedia (February 16, 2013, 11:03 a.m.), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alt-A . Credit rating agencies assign bond credit ratings, which represent the credit worthiness of corporate or government bonds, and "the likelihood the debt will be repaid." Bond credit rating, Wikipedia (December 13, 2013, 9:14 a.m.), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bond_credit_rating . The letter designations represent the quality of the bond, such as AAA, AA, A, BBB, and BB. See Bond credit rating, Wikipedia. "AAA" refers to the "highest possible rating assigned to the bonds of an issuer by credit rating agencies." AAA, Investopedia, http://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/aaa.asp (last visited July 5, 2013).
Thornburg Mortgage filed its 2007 Form 10-K on February 28, 2008, approximately twelve hours after sending its last payment to Citigroup Global and meeting its outstanding margin calls. See Complaint ¶ 3, at 6; id. ¶ 41, at 12. Goldstone, Simmons, and Starrett drafted and reviewed Thornburg Mortgage's 2007 Form 10-K before filing it, and Goldstone and Simmons signed the Form 10-K. See Complaint ¶ 7, at 3. In the 2007 Form 10-K, Goldstone and Simmons represented that Thornburg Mortgage had successfully met its margin calls without selling any assets. See Complaint ¶ 7, at 3; 2007 Form [*18] 10-K at 35 ("[D]espite these challenges, we successfully continue to meet all margin calls, we maintain existing short-term financing facilities with our existing finance counterparties and we have successfully added new financing capacity since year end."); id. at 39 ("In the event that we cannot meet future margin calls from our available cash position, we might need to selectively sell assets in order to raise cash. To date, no such sales have been required . . . ."). Thornburg Mortgage's 2007 Form 10-K accounted for the I/O Strip Transactions as the issuance of secured debt.9 See Complaint ¶ 37, at 11. The 2007 Form 10-K also stated that Thornburg Mortgage had the "'intent and ability to hold its ARM Securities until their value recovered in the market,'" notwithstanding that the lenders which declared Thornburg Mortgage in default of reverse repurchase agreements could have seized Thornburg Mortgage's ARM securities pledged as collateral. Complaint ¶ 8, at 3 (quoting 2007 Form 10-K at 41). In accordance with the statement that Thornburg Mortgage had the intent and ability to hold its ARM securities until their value recovered, Thornburg Mortgage did not recognize $427.8 million in losses associated [*19] with its ARM securities that served as collateral on its reverse repurchase agreements. See Complaint ¶ 8, at 4. Thornburg Mortgage also reported a fourth-quarter 2007 profit. See Complaint ¶ 11, at 4. "Thornburg's . . . Form 10K and accompanying financial statements were also incorporated into the company's active Form S-3 ASR10 registration statement, relating to Thornburg Mortgage's dividend reinvestment and stock purchase plan, which was signed by Goldstone and Simmons and had been filed with the Commission on December 10, 2007." Complaint ¶ 89, at 26.
9 The Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") "is the independent, private-sector, not-for-profit organization . . . that establishes financial accounting and reporting standards for public and private companies and not-for-profit organizations that follow" GAAP. About the FASB, Financial Accounting Standards Board (May 2, 2016), http://www.fasb.org/facts/ . According to the FASB's Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 166 ¶ 26C(b), at 5, filed May 21, 2012 (Doc. 37-33)("SFAS 166"), "[i]n a transaction in which the transferor creates an interest-only strip from a loan and transfers the interest-only strip, the interest-only strip does not meet the [*20] definition of an entire financial asset." The FASB explains that, when an interest-only strip does not meet the definition of an "entire financial asset," it should not be counted as a sale. SFAS 166 at 3. The FASB issued SFAS 166 in June, 2009, as an amendment to the Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 140 ¶ 9, at 3, filed May 21, 2012 (Doc. 37-32)("SFAS 140"), to clarify SFAS 140's objective. SFAS 166 at 3. Paragraph 9 of SFAS 140 states: "A transfer of financial assets (or all or a portion of a financial asset) in which the transferor surrenders control over those financial assets shall be accounted for as a sale to the extent that consideration other than beneficial interests in the transferred assets is received in exchange." SFAS 140 ¶ 9, at 3.
10 "ASR" stands for "Accounting Series Release" and refers to the SEC's official accounting rule pronouncements. Accounting Series Release, Investopedia (December 8, 2013), http://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/accounting-series-releases.asp . "ASRs provide guidelines and rules on all aspects of corporate accounting, including requirements, auditing policies and disclosure mandates." Accounting Series Release, Investopedia.
Thornburg Mortgage began receiving margin calls at 6:00 a.m. on February [*21] 28, 2008. See Complaint ¶ 41, at 12-13. Thornburg Mortgage's stock prices fell after it filed the 2007 Form 10-K. See Complaint ¶ 10, at 4; Thornburg Hit with Margin Calls; Shares Slide, Dow Jones Newswires, Feb. 28, 2008, filed May 21, 2012 (Doc. 37-29)("Feb. 28 Dow Jones Newswire"); Thornburg, MF Global Send Financial Stocks Lower, Dow Jones MarketWatch, Feb. 28, 2008, filed May 21, 2012 (Doc. 37-30). Simmons commented to Goldstone, in an early-morning email regarding Thornburg Mortgage's falling stock prices: "I guess the recent development section did not go over well. If they only knew." Complaint ¶ 10, at 4 (quoting Email from Clay Simmons to Larry Goldstone at 2, (sent February 28, 2008, at 6:33 a.m.), filed May 21, 2012 (Doc. 37-24)("Feb. 28, 2008 Simmons/Goldstone Email")). In an email from Goldstone to Thornburg Mortgage's investor relations department on February 28, 2008, at 5:29 a.m., Goldstone instructed the group to "'try to calm the panic,'" and to inform investors that "'[a]ll margin calls met,' '[l]enders are fine,' and '[w]e have sufficient operating cash[.]'" Complaint ¶ 94, at 27 (alterations in original). See Email from Larry Goldstone to Thornburg Mortgage IR Department Employees Amy Pell, Suzanne O'Leary Lopez, and Allison Yates at 2, (sent February 28, 2008, at 5:29 a.m.), filed May 21, 2012 (Doc. 37-27). At 6:56 a.m., Goldstone [*22] informed Thornburg Mortgage's Board of Directors in an email that he estimated Thornburg Mortgage had approximately forty million dollars available in cash at that time. See Complaint ¶ 95, at 28; Email from Larry Goldstone to Thornburg Mortgage Board of Directors at 2, (sent February 28, 2008, at 6:56 a.m.), filed May 21, 2012 (Doc. 37-11)("Feb. 28, 2008 Email"). As of 7:30 a.m. on February 28, 2008, Thornburg Mortgage had received over $100 million in margin calls. See Complaint ¶ 9, at 4; id. ¶ 41, at 13.
In the afternoon of February 28, 2008, Goldstone appeared on Street Signs on the Consumer News and Business Channel ("CNBC"). Complaint ¶ 98, at 28. On Street Signs, Goldstone stated that: (i) he did not believe Thornburg Mortgage would need to sell assets; (ii) Thornburg Mortgage had "'met all of [its] lending requirements'"; and (iii) Thornburg Mortgage had "'liquidity and cash available to continue to support the portfolio.'" Complaint ¶ 98, at 28 (alterations in original)(quoting Street Signs: Interview with Larry Goldstone at 3:54-4:09, CNBC television broadcast February 28, 2008, filed May 21, 2012 (Doc. 37-1)).
On the evening of February 28, 2008, Thornburg Mortgage received a default notice from J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. for an [*23] unpaid margin call that J.P. Morgan had issued to Thornburg Mortgage earlier that day. See Complaint ¶ 41, at 13. At the end of day on February 28, 2008, Goldstone, Simmons, and Starrett confirmed, via email, that the "'top messages [they] reinforced in the market'" were: "'We have met all margin calls to date, and we expect to continue to do so. We have sufficient operating cash, and we don't expect to sell assets to meet margin calls. We returned to profitability during the fourth quarter despite a tough market.'" Complaint ¶ 96, at 28 (alterations in original).
As part of Thornburg Mortgage's auditing process in 2007, Thornburg Mortgage had to assess whether it had the intent and ability to hold its ARM securities until maturity, or when they recovered their value on the market -- referred to as an "other-than-temporary impairment . . . analysis" ("OTTI analysis").11 Complaint ¶¶ 49-50, at 50-51. As part of Thornburg Mortgage's 2007 audit, KPMG assessed whether Thornburg Mortgage's OTTI analysis was accurate. See Complaint ¶ 49, at 14-15.12 The Defendants did not disclose to KPMG: (i) Thornburg Mortgage's "precarious" financial condition, Complaint ¶ 51, at 15; (ii) that Thornburg Mortgage [*24] was in violation of its repurchase agreements and relying on lender forbearance to meet its margin calls, see Complaint ¶ 51, at 15; (iii) that Thornburg Mortgage had used I/O Strip Transactions to meet margin calls in the last two weeks of February, 2008, see Complaint ¶ 99, at 29; (iv) that Thornburg Mortgage had received the Citigroup Letter, see Complaint ¶ 99, at 29; or (v) that the European hedge fund was on the verge of collapse, see Complaint ¶ 76, at 22.
11 An "impairment" is a "reduction in a company's stated capital." Impairment, Investopedia, http://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/impairment.asp (last visited June 10, 2013).
12 The Complaint does not identify Thornburg Mortgage's auditor as KPMG. The Court has determined, however, that it may take judicial notice of documents that the Complaint references and that are central to the SEC's allegations, see In re. Thornburg Mortg., Inc. Sec. Litig., No. CIV 07-0815 JB/WDS, 2009 WL 5851089, at 2 (D.N.M. Dec. 21, 2009)(Browning, J.)("In addition to those documents that are judicially noticeable, a court may consider documents to which the complaint refers, if the documents are central to the plaintiff's claim and the parties do not dispute their authenticity."), and the Court has taken judicial notice of an email from KPMG Senior Manager Jennifer [*25] Hall to Larry Goldstone, Jane Starrett, Clay Simmons, and Thornburg Mortgage Employee Shawn Buniel (March 3, 2008 11:44 p.m.), filed May 21, 2013 (Doc. 37-28)("March 3, 2008 Hall Email"), which indicates that Thornburg Mortgage's auditor was KPMG, see March 3, 2008 Hall Email at 2 (representing that the email was sent from a KPMG employee).
Share this article: