Audits: Top Mortgage Firms Defrauded Taxpayers

Confidential reports could lead to prosecutions
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2011 1:10 PM CDT
A pedestrian walks past a sign protesting Bank of America before the annual shareholders meeting in Charlotte, N.C., on May 11.   (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

(Newser) – A set of confidential audits could lead to fraud prosecutions for five of America’s biggest mortgage lenders, officials briefed on the documents tell the Huffington Post. The scathing documents accuse Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Ally Financial of defrauding taxpayers by making false claims about foreclosures on homes purchased with government-backed loans, according to the officials.

The audits are especially hard on Bank of America—which refused to cooperate with the probe, and allegedly lied about correcting its foreclosure practices following a self-imposed moratorium—and Wells Fargo, where investigators say senior managers broke civil laws. The audits have been forwarded to the Justice Department, which must now decide whether to press charges. In the meantime, they’ll provide leverage for state officials seeking punitive fines from the mortgage companies over the robo-signing scandal.

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