Home Foreclosure

A federal lawsuit was filed on June 9 in Los Angeles, California, that accused Bank of America, Countrywide and LandSafe of appraisal fraud. Bank of America now owns Countrywide and LandSafe is Countrywide’s appraisal firm.

The lawsuit alleges that Countrywide used LandSafe to conduct fraudulent appraisals for the plaintiffs in Florida and California in an effort to generate higher value loans. It also alleges that the actions violate the Racketeer Influences and Corrupt Organization Act, better known as RICO, and that as a result, criminal conduct occurred.

Lawsuit Believed to Stem from Whistleblower Case

Four former LandSafe employees acted as whistleblowers, leading to a $16.65 billion settlement by Bank of America. The bank agreed to settle claims that dealt with its mortgage securitization and lending business. Federal prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not file criminal charges in that case and the documents have been sealed. The criminal scheme’s nature and its extent are not known to the public.

The only things known about that settlement is the whistleblowers in the case alleged that the values of homes were overstated because Bank of America deliberately used “improper appraisal practices” in order to improve its portfolio by $6.6 billion.

Not the First Case Alleging Racketeering by Bank of America and Countrywide

Federal prosecutors have found many violations by Bank of America and Countrywide. It is alleged that the two banks concentrated on getting as many loans as they could -– even if the quality of the loans was questionable.

This lawsuit deals with the “systemic misrepresentation” of valuations and appraisals done to increase how financially stable and profitable the banks appeared. This type of mortgage fraud was and still is endemic to the industry with large banks.

Was your California or Florida Mortgage Affected by Inflated Appraisals?

Mortgage fraud was commonplace during the 2008 financial crisis; however, there are still lawsuits being filed dealing with it. If you received an inflated appraisal from LandSafe in Florida or California, you may have a right to seek compensation. An attorney familiar with mortgage fraud can help determine what your legal options are and how to proceed.