Thursday, December 1, 2011

Massachusetts Attorney General Sues 5 Major Banks and MERS for Mortgage Fraud

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said today that she has filed suit against five major US banks for allegations related to mortgage fraud and unlawful property seizures.
Coakley said she will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. today to detail the suit against Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co, Citi, and Ally Financial.
The suit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, also names the private company Mortgage Electronic Registration System Inc. and its parent, MERSCORP Inc., as defendants, according to the attorney general’s office.


“The AG’s lawsuit seeks accountability for the banks’ unlawful and deceptive conduct in the foreclosure process, including unlawful foreclosures, false documentation and robo-signing, MERS, and deceptive practices related to loan modifications,’’ the news release from Coakley’s office said.
The suit comes a month after Coakley’s announcement that she was no longer confident that settlement negotiations between a group of US lenders and a multistate alliance of attorneys general would be successful. The negotiations began last year following concerns about fraud and sloppy paperwork in lenders’ foreclosure efforts.


Lew Finfer, executive director of the nonprofit Massachusetts Communities Action Network that works with troubled homeowners, praised Coakley’s action, saying it will help tens of thousands of homeowners struggling to save their properties.


“We commend Attorney General Coakley for stepping up and leading as the first AG in the country to move so strongly on this,’’ Finfer said. He said the suit “gives her a hammer to either compel more serious negotiations toward a good settlement or she can proceed with the lawsuit and hopefully win a strong decision anyway.”


Jenifer McKim can be reached at jmckim@globe.com.



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