Wachovia May be Next Probed by SEC for Mortgage-Backed Sales

Wachovia, the once-troubled bank acquired by Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) in 2008 for $19 billion, may soon face civil charges for allegedly overpricing mortgage-backed securities whose values went south with the housing collapse, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is targeting the amounts Wachovia charged investors for collateralized debt obligations, which is a type of security made of packaged mortgages, according to the Journal, citing people close to the matter.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank may have applied excessive markups that did not wholly reflect the diminishing value of the underlying loans, according to the sources.

The latest move would be part of the SEC’s broader probe into the Street’s sales of about $1 trillion worth of the risky mortgage-backed securities, which led to massive global losses three years ago as the housing collapse dragged down their value.

As part of its effort, the SEC has issued subpoenas for documents and interviewed officials from nearly every bank or securities company that played a major role in the selling, buying or trading of CDOs, including Citigroup (NYSE:C), Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB), UBS (NYSE:UBS) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS).

The banks have yet to be charged as a result of the current investigation.