Freddie Mac official apparently killed himself

VIENNA, VA. – The chief financial officer of Freddie Mac, one of the mortgage giants at the heart of the nation’s financial meltdown, was found dead in his basement early Wednesday morning in what police said was an apparent suicide.

David Kellermann, 41, apparently hanged himself in his suburban Washington home, said a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation.

Kellermann was promoted last September when the government seized the mortgage company and ousted its top two executives. Neighbors said Kellermann had lost a noticeable amount of weight under the strain of the new job. Some neighbors said they suggested to Kellermann that he should quit to avoid the stress, but Kellermann responded that he wanted to help the company through its problems.

Kellermann oversaw a staff of about 500 at Freddie Mac’s McLean, Va., headquarters and was working on the company’s first-quarter financial report, due by the end of May. Federal regulators closely oversee the company’s books and sign off on major decisions.

That relationship has been tense and stressful, with Kellermann working long hours, a colleague said. Freddie Mac executives recently battled with federal regulators over whether to disclose potential losses on mortgage securities tied to the Obama administration’s housing plan, said a person familiar with the deliberations.

Freddie Mac, which owns or guarantees about 13 million mortgages, has been criticized for financing risky loans that fueled the real estate bubble and are now defaulting at a record pace. The company lost more than $50 billion last year, and the Treasury Department has pumped in $45 billion to keep the company afloat. Last month, David Moffett, the government-appointed chief executive, resigned in frustration over strict oversight.

Kellermann worked for Freddie Mac more than 16 years.

Federal prosecutors in Virginia have been investigating Freddie Mac’s business practices. But two U.S. law enforcement officials said Kellermann was neither a target nor a subject of the investigation and had not been under law enforcement scrutiny.


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