by Brian Mahany
Earlier this Spring, we wrote about a massive federal false claims action involving Wells Fargo, Washington Mutual, Chase Manhattan Mortgage, Citimortgage, General Motors Acceptance Corporation, Countrywide, Bank of America, US Bank, Fifth Third Bancorp plus a dozen smaller lenders. The government says they were improperly charging fees to America’s veterans seeking Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loans or “IRRRL’s.”
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an IRRRL is available to active duty military and veterans who hold VA guaranteed loans. The program is designed to help keep soldiers in their homes. Many soldiers struggle to pay bills at home while deployed to faraway lands. Although not a loan forgiveness plan or “bailout,” the program can mean the difference between someone keeping their home or landing on the street. By reducing the interest rate on a government backed loan, payments can be reduced.
Earlier this year we reported how many lenders were reportedly tacking illegal fees onto the loan. When we last posted a story on this topic, some lenders had already settled and paid millions in penalties. We hoped the story was over.
We have just learned from some concerned vets that Bank of America is selling loans when vets seek to obtain an interest rate reduction. In one case, a veteran reports that Bank of America “lost” his paperwork repeatedly over many weeks. When he was finally set to close the new modified loan, BOA announced that the loan had been sold. The new servicer conveniently doesn’t participate in the IRRRL program.
If this is true, Bank of America is simply thumbing its nose at both the courts and those who faithfully served their country. We write this post seeking other vets with similar stories involving Bank of America or other lenders / servicers. If you are a mortgage company or bank employee, we want to hear from you as well. The earlier federal suit was brought by two whistleblowers who stand to earn millions for coming forward and doing the right thing by standing up for veterans.
If you have information, believe you qualify as a whistleblower and wish to file a false claims suit to earn your share of award monies or are a veteran who has been defrauded by a lender, please give us a call. All inquiries will be kept in strict confidence. Please contact attorney Anthony Dietz at or by telephone at (248) 789-5551.
Mahany & Ertl – America’s Fraud Lawyers. Offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Detroit, Michigan; Portland, Maine & Minneapolis, Minnesota. Services available many jurisdictions.