JPMorgan Sued By NY AG Over "Shit-Breathing" Bear Stearns RMBS Fraud
NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is suing JPMorgan over "multiple fraudulent and deceptive acts" in selling mortgage-backed securities causing losses of over $20bn. The suit appears to be related to conduct at Bear Stearns and is on the back of the monoline insurer lawsuits, and whistleblower affidavits such as the following:
In connection with the Bear Stearns Second Lien Trust 2007-1 (“BSSLT 2007- 1”) securitization, for example, one Bear Stearns executive asked whether the securitization was a “going out of business sale” and expressed a desire to “close this dog.” In another internal email, the SACO 2006-8 securitization was referred to as a “SACK OF SHIT” and a “shit breather.”
While we hope this would effectuate some real change, the likelihood is that it will at best result in a $300mm civil-lawsuit slap-on-the-wrists and brownie points for Schneiderman while nothing changes.
JPMorgan is of course contesting the shocking allegations.
- *JPMORGAN DISAPPOINTED NYAG PURSUING `RECYCLED' PLAINTIFF CLAIMS à NY AG MIRRORS BOND INSURER LAWSUITS
- *JPMORGAN TO STILL COOPERATE WITH PRESIDENT'S RMBS WORKING GROUP
- *JPMORGAN COMMENTS ON NYAG CLAIMS IN E-MAILED STATEMENT :JPM US
- *JPMORGAN SAYS IT INTENDS TO CONTEST NYAG ALLEGATIONS :JPM US
Via NY Times:
The complaint contends that Bear Stearns and its lending unit EMC Mortgage defrauded investors who purchased mortgage securities packaged by the companies from 2005 through 2007. The firms made material misrepresentations about the quality of the loans in the securities, the lawsuit said, and ignored evidence of broad defects among the loans that they pooled and sold to investors.
Moreover, when Bear Stearns identified problematic loans that it had agreed to purchase from a lender, it was required to make the originator buy them back. But Bear Stearns demanded cash payments from the lenders and kept the money, rather than passing it on to investors, the suit contends.
Unlike many of the other mortgage crisis cases brought by regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, the action does not focus on a particular deal that harmed investors or an individual who was central to a specific transaction. Rather, the suit contends that the improper practices were institution-wide and affected numerous deals during the period.
Affidavit of Whistleblower from Clayton + Watterson Prime (Mortgage Due Diligence Firm) in Ambac vs. EMC:
...Many of my colleagues at Clayton also lacked underwriting experience and a number of them had held no previous positions in the mortgage industry. I noticed that many senior Clayton employees, such as Deb Medina, hired many of their family members to work as due diligence underwriters, even when they had no experience in the mortgage industry.
...Because of the time pressures, however, many due diligence underwriters at both Clayton and Watterson entered information directly from the loan application (also known as the "1003 form") or underwriting worksheet (the "1008 form") without verifying the information by examining supporting documentation. This was known as "1008 underwriting." In addition to the time pressures, another reason that many Clayton and Watterson due diligence underwriters engaged in 1008 underwriting was because they lacked the experience to question the information on these forms.
In fact, Clayton leads instructed us not to question what was on the 1008 form: "The loan’s already closed. You can’t do anything about it at this point." I received similar instructions from leads at Watterson, who often told us: "It’s closed. Just approve it and move on, They’re already in the house." From these instructions, I understood that Clayton and Watterson supervisors wanted me to approve loans without questioning any inaccuracies or departures from the underwriting guidelines.
As a result, due diligence underwriters like me knew that we could avoid having supervisors examine our work so long as we graded the loans as 1s. If we graded loans as 2s or 3s, quality control personnel and leads scrutinized our work and, oftentimes, publicly berated us for assigning that grade. Deb Medina, a Clayton lead, frequently yelled at due diligence underwriters for grading loans as 3s in public. Watterson leads instructed us, "Pass the loan and keep it moving." By this I understood that I was supposed to approve loans and could quickly move on to the next loan.
Clayton and Watterson leads instructed us to avoid grading loans as 3s. This was true for numerous clients, but especially true on Bear Stearns jobs... due diligence underwriters at both Clayton and Watterson often used the phrase "Bear don’t care."
...I frequently reviewed loan files that contained documents that appeared to be fraudulent. For example, I reviewed many pay stubs that I believed were fraudulent because they were obviously altered. When I raised this issue to leads at Clayton, they instructed me: "This is not fraud review. Just take it from there."
(h/t Manal Mehta)