Bank of America Sued for $1 Billion by Federal Government over Mortgage Losses

October 29, 2012 Posted by kingcade

Last Wednesday, the federal government filed a civil lawsuit against Bank of America Corp. The lawsuit alleged that Bank of America misrepresented the quality of loans it sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, costing the federal government $1 billion in losses. The government is suing Bank of America under the Federal False Claims Act, which has become a popular tool for prosecutors seeking to hold banks accountable for alleged mortgage misdeeds and calls for triple damages when the government can show taxpayers were ripped off.

The government alleges Countrywide, which Bank of America acquired in 2008, dismembered quality control and checks on loan quality from 2007 to 2009, in a process called “the Hustle” that aimed to boost the speed at which it originated and sold loans to the companies. This procedure was created to speed up the selling process of mortgage loans. Wednesday’s suit was also brought under a federal statute known as the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act, which was enacted in 1989 following a wave of bank failures triggered by the savings-and-loan crisis. This action isn’t Bank of America’s first False Claims Act suit. In February, Bank of America agreed to a $1 billion settlement of False Claims Act fraud allegations tied to Federal Housing Administration-backed loans brought by the Eastern District of New York. The bank settled without admitting wrongdoing.

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