The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged three of New Century Financial Corp.'s top officials with securities fraud for misleading investors as the mortgage firm's subprime mortgage business was collapsing in 2006. At the time of the fraud, it was one of the largest subprime lenders in the nation.

"New Century shareholders took a double-hit: the company's mortgage assets and business performance became increasingly impaired, and management manipulated its numbers and concealed its deteriorating performance," said Robert Khuzami, the SEC's director of enforcement.

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