Articles Posted in Mortgage Backed Securities

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) has agreed to settle securities allegations that it defrauded federal agencies by underwriting mortgage loans that were sub-standard. As part of the agreement with the US government, the bank acknowledged that for over 10 years it approved thousands of insured loans that were ineligible for insurance by the Department of Veterans Affairs of the Federal Housing Administration. The Justice Department claims that as a result of JPMorgan’s actions, both the VA and FHA sustained significant losses because loans that were not qualified failed.

The mortgage fraud lawsuit is over the financial firm’s involvement in US programs that let private-sector lenders approve mortgages for government refinancing or insurances. According to prosecutors, JPMorgan violated the rules on a routine basis when it approved loans that did not meet the program’s criteria. One example, noted by, is the bank’s decision to underwrite a loan for an Indiana property and approving it for FHA insurance even though the rules don’t allow for reliance on documents that are over 120 days old to verify the assets of the borrower. After just three payments, the borrower defaulted. Because JPMorgan was the note’s holder, the Department of Housing and Urban Development paid a $109,253 insurance claim.

The Justice Department says that as part of the securities settlement the bank has also admitted that it did not let agencies know that its own internal reviews uncovered over 500 defective loans that should not have been turned in for VA and FHA insurance. According to United States attorney in Manhattan Preet Bharara, JPMorgan put “profits ahead of responsibility.”

The New Jersey Attorney General John Hoffman is suing a Credit Suisse Group AG (CS) for securities fraud. The state’s regulator contends that the bank misrepresented the risks on over $10B in home loan-backed securities.

According to the mortgage-backed securities lawsuit, Credit Suisse is accused of failing to disclose that loan originators it employed had records of delinquencies and defaults and that some had even been suspended from working with the bank. The state’s attorney general claims that even though Credit Suisse’s traders were unwilling to hold the securities on the books of the bank, the latter was selling them to customers. Also, alleges the complaint, the despite receiving tens of millions of dollars in reimbursement from loan originators for the faulty loans, Credit Suisse did not give the money to the trusts that owned the loans.

A representative for Credit Suisse says the mortgage securities case is meritless. The bank is facing a similar lawsuit filed against it by New York’s attorney general.

Reuters is reporting that according to a source in the know, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s (JPM) tentative $13 billion residential mortgage-backed securities settlement with the US Justice Department has hit a couple of stumbling blocks. The firm is reportedly trying to include a provision that would close any criminal probes into its packaging and sale of mortgage securities-except for an inquiry by California prosecutors. This counters the bank’s earlier decision to agree to keep criminal investigations out of the deal.

The settlement, preliminarily reached last week, includes $4 billion to resolve claims made by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which contends that J.P. Morgan misled Freddie Mac (FMCC) and Fannie Mae (FNMA) about the quality of loans the latter two bought from the investment bank before the 2008 economic crisis. Another $4 billion is for consumer relief, while $5 billion is for penalties.

The agreement also would settle a separate mortgage securities lawsuit filed separately by NY AG Eric Schneiderman against the firm over Bear Stearns (BSC)-packaged mortgage bonds. The state’s top prosecutor contended that Bear Stearns misled investors about the faulty loans behind the securities, neglected to complete assess the debt, disregarded defects that were found, and concealed its failure to properly examine the loans or reveal their risks.

The US Justice Department has filed criminal charges against ex-Jefferies & Co. Inc. Director Jesse Litvak, who is accused of defrauding investors in residential mortgage-backed securities. The former senior trader allegedly also defrauded a federal bank bailout program and private and public funds when he falsified sellers’ identities and prices to try to make more money for his employer.

Investigators contend that Litvak was able to generate over $2.7 million from his securities scam. He has pleaded not guilty to 16 criminal charges. The case against him is the first under a law that bans major fraud against the US through TARP (the Troubled Asset Relief Program.)

Meantime, the Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a civil case against Litvak over the same alleged RMBS fraud. The SEC says that the former Jefferies director would lie about the buying price of mortgage-backed securities that he would purchase from one client and sell to another. He is accused of making up a fictional seller to make it seem like he was putting together an RMBS trade between customers when he was actually just selling securities from the inventory of the firm at a high price.

This month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit refused to revive statutory and common law MBS claims made by five Ohio pension funds: The Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund, the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio, the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, the Ohio Public Employees Deferred Compensation Program, and the School Employees Retirement Systems of Ohio. All of them are run by the state for public employees.

Per the court’s opinion, between 2005 and 2008, the funds had invested hundreds of million of dollars in 308 mortgage-backed securities that all were given AAA or the equivalent from one of the three credit rating agencies. When MBS value dropped during this time, the Funds lost about $457 million.

The plaintiffs believe that the reason that they lost their money is because the ratings that were given to the MBS were false and misleading. They filed their Ohio securities lawsuit under the state’s “blue sky ” laws, as well as the common law theory of negligent misrepresentation.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York is allowing the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s residential mortgage-backed securities lawsuits against Deutsche Bank AG, Morgan Stanley (MS), Barclays Bank PLC (BCS), and RBS Securities to go to trial even while granting the dismissal of some of the motions having to do with alleged misstatements about owner-occupancy information and loan-to-value ratio. FHFA is the conservator for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae against numerous financial institutions for alleged securities law violations related to the sale and offer of RMBS.

According to the complaints, which are part of 17 FHFA lawsuits that were brought in September 2011, from 2005 to 2007 the offering documents used to sell RMBS to the government sponsored enterprises included material misstatements or omissions about LTV, owner-occupancy status, and mortgage-underwriting standards. (Based on these allegations, the SEC made claims under the Virginia Securities Act, the 1933 Securities Act, and the District of Columbia Securities Act) In the FHFA’s complaints against Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and in four of the other cases, the agency is making New York common law claims of aiding and abetting fraud and fraud on the basis of three categories of alleged misstatements that the securities law claims were based upon.

Per the Federal Housing Finance Agency v. Deutsche Bank AG, the financial firm, a number of its corporate affiliates, and associated individuals were named defendants for acting as lead underwriter for 40 securitizations, as well as a depositor and sponsor for 35 of them. The defendants submitted motions to dismiss the fraud claims and claims, pointing to DC law and Virginia law as basis.

NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is suing J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) over MBS fraud that was allegedly committed by its Bear Stearns unit. This is the first securities lawsuit to be brought under the sponsorship of the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group, which is made up of prosecutors and regulators and was formed by President Barack Obama. The action is seeking damages that were either a direct or an indirect result of “fraudulent and deceptive acts.”

The group is contending that investors sustained $22.5 billion in losses involving Bear Stearns Cos.-issued securities before the investment bank almost failed in 2008 and JP Morgan ended up taking it over. Mortgage securitizations involving subprime and Alt A mortgages from between 2005 and 2007 are at the center of the case.

According to the MBS fraud lawsuit, Bear Stearns committed financial fraud against investors when it packaged and sold mortgages that it knew (or should have known) had a good chance of defaulting. The lawsuit even quotes messages and emails supposedly sent internally at Bear Stearns showing that bank employees knew the investments they were selling were of poor quality. Schneiderman is alleging that the mortgage unit “systematically failed” when assessing loans, disregarded defects that were found, and failed to inform investors about review procedures or problems involving the loans.

Rather than focusing on a single transaction, the New York securities fraud lawsuit is claiming financial fraud across the firm. It also is applying New York State’s Martin Act, which doesn’t mandate that in order to win the case prosecutors must prove that a financial firm meant to commit the alleged fraud. The task force intends to use this case to bring other claims on a firm-wide basis. Schneiderman said that the group is “looking at tens of billions of dollars” in damages and not just by one financial firm.

Federal and state regulators have been working hard since 2008 to find out whether banks just made poor decisions or actually broke securities laws related to the mortgage securities that failed in the economic crisis. Recent victories against large firms include Bank of America Corp. (BAC) consenting to pay $2.43 billion to settle class action securities allegations accusing it of misleading investors about the Merrill Lynch & Co. (MER) acquisition. However, the bank settled without admitting or denying wrongdoing.

Regarding this New York MBS case against JP Morgan Chase, a spokesperson for the financial firm said it was “disappointed” with the civil action while making it clear that the alleged activities in question occurred before it bought Bear Stearns.

JP Morgan Sued on Mortgage Bonds, The Wall Street Journal, October 1, 2012

NY Attorney General Says More Suits Will Follow JPMorgan, Bloomberg, October 2, 2012

Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group Members Announce First Legal Action,, October 2, 2012

Residential Mortgage Backed Securities Fraud Working Group

Martin Act (PDF)

More Blog Posts:

Morgan Keegan Settles Subprime Mortgage-Backed Securities Charges for $200M, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, June 29, 2011

Morgan Keegan to Pay $9.2M to Investors in Texas Securities Fraud Case Involving Risky Bond Funds, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, October 6, 2010
Class Action MBS Securities Lawsuit Against Goldman Sachs is Reinstated by 2nd Circuit, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, September 14, 2012 Continue Reading ›

In the State Supreme Court of New York, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has fled an objection to Bank of America proposed $8.5 billion mortgage-backed securities settlement. The FDIC, which is the receiver for failed banks and owns the securities that the settlement is supposed to cover, says it doesn’t have sufficient information to assess the settlement.

Per the agreement, Bank of America would pay to resolve claims brought by investors of mortgage bonds from Countrywide Financial Corp., which the investment bank acquired in 2008 for $4 billion. Already, the claims related to the Countrywide MBS has cost Bank of America over $30 billion.

The $8.5 billion securities settlement with Bank of America is over $424 billion in mortgages from Countrywide and was reached with 22 institutional investors, including:

Our securities fraud lawyers would like to remind you that if you want to opt out of the $100M class action settlement with Oppenheimer Mutual Funds you have to do so by August 31, 2011. OppenheimerFunds Inc. agreed to pay that amount over accusations that it mismanaged its Oppenheimer Champion Fund (OCHBX, OPCHX and OCHCX) and its Oppenheimer Core Bond Fund (OPIGX). The class action was filed by investors accusing OppenheimerFunds of misrepresenting in its offering documents the degree of risk involved in complex securitized instruments, including mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps.

Under the class action agreement, Champion Fund investors are to be paid $52.5 million. Core Bond investors are to receive $47.5 million. While this amount may seem like a lot, with thousands of class action claimants, Core Bund Fund investors will likely receive approximately 12 cents on the dollar, while Champion Fund investors will receive about 3 cents on the dollar.

This is not a lot of money for your losses, which is why you may want to seriously consider opting out of the class action and pursuing your own securities lawsuit or arbitration claim. Please contact our stockbroker fraud law firm today and ask for your free case evaluation.

You have until August 31, 2011 to send a written exclusion to the class counsel. Your letter cannot be postmarked after the deadline. Failure to opt out will prevent you from filing your own case at a later today. You should, however, get your share of the settlement.

OppenheimerFunds is a Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company subsidiary. Defendants of the class action were charged with violating the Investment Company Act of 1940 and the Securities Act of 1933.

The Oppenheimer Core Bond Fund lost at least 33% of its value in 2008. During the first three months of 2009 it lost another 10%. The bond was promoted as appropriate for and offered by a number of 529 college savings plans, a number of annuities, and retirement plans. The Champion Fund lost about 80% of its value in 2008.

While staying part of a class action in a securities case may appear to be the easy way to recover your investment losses, this is truly not the case. Why should you get back so much left when you’ve lost so much?

By retaining the services of an experienced securities fraud law firm, you increase your chances of recovering the maximum amount possible. We know how devastating it can be to lose money that you have worked so hard for and saved.

OppenheimerFunds Settles Mismanagement Case for $100 Million, Bloomberg Businessweek, July 26, 2011
OppenheimerFunds to pay $100 million to settle mismanagement case, Denver Post, July 27, 2011
More Blog Posts:
Mortgage-Backed Securities Lawsuit Against Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch Now a Class Action Case, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, June 25, 2011
Class Members of Charles Schwab Corporation Securities Litigation Can Still Opt Out to File Individual Securities Claim, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, December 6, 2010
Wells Fargo Settles Mortgage-Backed Securities Class Action Case for $125M, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, July 19, 2011 Continue Reading ›

According to the SEC, FINRA, and state regulators, Morgan Keegan & Company and Morgan Asset Management have consented to pay $200 million to settle subprime mortgage-backed securities-related charges. Also agreeing to pay penalties over their alleged misconduct are Morgan Keegan comptroller Joseph Thompson Weller and ex- portfolio manager James C. Kelsoe Jr.

The two men were accused of causing the false valuation of subprime mortgage backed securities in five Morgan Asset Management-related funds. Per the SEC’s administrative order, Kelsoe directed the fund accounting department to arbitrarily execute price adjustments to the fair values of certain portfolio securities. These adjustments disregarded the lower values for the same securities that outside broker-dealers provided as part of the pricing process. Kelsoe’s directives and the actions that were taken as a result would sometimes cause Morgan Keegan to not price the bonds at current, fair value.

The SEC also says that Kelsoe screened and affected at least one broker-dealer’s price confirmations. That broker-dealer had to provide interim price confirmations that were below the value that the funds were valuing certain bonds at but greater than the initial confirmations that the broker-dealer meant to provide. The interim price confirmations allowed the funds to not mark down the securities’ value to reflect current fair value. Kelsoe is also accused of getting the broker-dealer to withhold price confirmations in certain instances where they would have been significantly lower than the funds’ current valuations of the relevant bonds. The SEC says that Kelsoe fraudulently kept the Navs of funds from being reduced when they should have gone down when the subprime securities market deteriorated in 2007.

Of the $200 million, Morgan Keegan must pay a $75 million penalty to the SEC, $25 million in disgorgement, and $100 million to a state fund that would then pay investors.

Morgan Keegan to Pay $200 Million to Settle Fraud Charges Related to Subprime Mortgage-Backed Securities, SEC, June 22, 2011
Morgan Keegan Entities to Pay $200M In Settlement Over Subprime MBS Valuations, Law 360, June 22, 2011

More Blog Posts:
Morgan Keegan Ordered by FINRA to Pay RMK Fund Investors $881,000, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, April 24, 2011
Morgan Keegan & Co. Inc. Must Pay $250K to Couple that Lost Investments in Hedge Fund with Ties to Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, March 16, 2011
Morgan Keegan to Pay $9.2M to Investors in Texas Securities Fraud Case Involving Risky Bond Fund, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, October 6, 2010 Continue Reading ›

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