Iowa AG: Lenders will be first to settle foreclosure allegations

Jessica M. Karmasek Jan. 5, 2011, 12:00pm


DES MOINES, Iowa (Legal Newsline) - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says the nation's five largest loan servicers will most likely be the first to settle a multi-state foreclosure investigation.

Miller, in an interview with Bloomberg News on Tuesday, said those five are Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., and Ally Financial Inc.

Miller is currently leading the nationwide mortgage foreclosure probe, in conjunction with 50 state attorneys general and banking and mortgage regulators in more than three dozen states.

The effort, which was launched in October, began with inquiries into so-called "robosigning" practices by several mortgage companies, and has since broadened into identifying and addressing additional alleged improper foreclosure practices.

In addition, Miller announced last month the creation of the Iowa Mortgage Fraud Working Group. The working group will identify and investigate targets for criminal prosecution in the Southern District of Iowa and perform other important functions in the fight against mortgage fraud.

Miller, in Tuesday's interview, said the attorneys general are "still a ways away" from reaching an agreement with the five loan servicers.

The group, he said, most likely will reach individual settlements, instead of a global agreement, with the companies.

Meanwhile, former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann has filed a class-action lawsuit against debt collection law firm Lerner, Sampson and Rothfuss, which he says files "frivolous" foreclosures.

According to Dann's suit, filed Tuesday in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, the firm has created "incorrect documentation" and doesn't have the right to file foreclosures.

The firm has filed about 4,500 foreclosures a year in the county alone.

The suit is Dann's first high-profile case since being forced to resign his attorney general post in 2008 amid a sexual harassment scandal.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at

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