Arizona Sues Bank Of America, Alleges Loan Modification Fraud

Bob Christie
Associated Press

PHOENIX — Attorneys general in Arizona and Nevada filed civil lawsuits Friday against Bank of America Corp., alleging that the lender is misleading and deceiving homeowners who have tried to modify mortgages in two of the nation’s most foreclosure-damaged states.

Bank of America violated Arizona’s consumer fraud law by misleading consumers who tried to reduce their monthly payments to keep their homes, state Attorney General Terry Goddard said. The bank also violated the terms of a 2009 consent agreement requiring its Countrywide mortgage subsidiary to implement a loan modification program, the Arizona lawsuit alleges.

Hundreds of homeowners kept making their mortgage payments because Bank of America repeatedly assured them that their loans were being modified, Goddard said. Instead, many lost their homes anyway.

“Those people could have used that money for something else,” Goddard told The Associated Press. “They were deceived into continuing to make mortgage payments when they had no hope of saving their homes.”

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto told the AP that the Silver State’s lawsuit was a last resort to try to get the bank to change its ways. It was filed after several discussions with bank managers led to assurances but little more.

“Clearly there is a disconnect between what Bank of America tells me at the management level and what’s happening on the front line,” Masto said.

Masto said separate lawsuits show the bank’s problems with consumers are widespread.

“The only thing that I’m asking is that (Bank of America) give them a reasonable response in a timely manner,” she said. “It is, in my perspective, a callous disregard for what we are telling them.”

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