Bryan Cohen May 10, 2013, 6:45pm

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Legal Newsline) -- New Mexico Attorney General Gary King on Monday announced a settlement with a major lender and servicer of consumer loans that allegedly fast-tracked foreclosures against the families and estates of deceased homeowners.

Green Tree Servicing allegedly abused the probate process in at least 25 cases to become the personal representatives of the estates of deceased homeowners and quickly complete a foreclosure against the deceased consumer's home.

Green Tree allegedly completed the foreclosures without giving the lawful heirs a chance to save the home or defend the foreclosure case.

The company allegedly filed documents in court stating that it was unaware of any heirs with legal priority over Green Tree, when, in some cases, the company clearly knew of a surviving spouse or surviving children.

King alleged that Green Tree's assertions of false statements to the court were misrepresentations in the collection of a debt in violation of the Unfair Practices Act.

After completing the foreclosures, Green Tree allegedly sold the homes and paid itself the proceeds.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, the company agreed to pay King's office $140,000 and never again be appointed as the personal representative of a homeowner's estate in New Mexico.

King's office said it will use the settlement funds for consumer protection enforcement and education.

As part of the consent decree, Green Tree denies engaging in unlawful conduct.

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