The federal government has filed a securities lawsuit against 23-ex Washington Mutual employees and a number of WaMu’s subsidiaries. The complaint contends that these persons signed off on documents that included misleading and false information that was used to sell billions of dollars in mortgage-backed securities. The case stems from the government’s MBS lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase, which acquired nearly all of WaMu’s banking assets and liabilities a few years ago. That securities complaint is one more than a dozen brought by the Federal Housing Finance Agency last month against the large banks that packaged and sold MBS at the height of the housing boom.
In this latest lawsuit, the government contends that when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bought their 35 issues of securities worth $12.9 billion during the bubble, they depended on the registration statements, prospectuses, and other documents that WaMu and its subprime unit Long Beach Mortgage had filed. Unfortunately, the documents that Fannie and Freddie depended on included omissions and misstatements that misrepresented that the underlying mortgage loans were in compliance with certain underwriting standards and guidelines, including representations that “significantly overstated” the borrowers’ ability to pay back their mortgage loans.
One example cited involves the LBMLT 2006-1, which is a subprime security. Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s had both given it an AAA rating and the offering document noted that almost 73% of the underlying mortgages had an 80% or lower loan-to-value ratio. Less than 25% were supposedly on non-owner occupied homes.
The government is now saying, however, that WaMu pressed appraisers to raise property values so that these lower LTV ratios could be obtained and that, in fact, only 50% of underlying loans in LBMLT 2006-1 had LTV ratios of 80% or lower. Also, the government believes that almost one third of LBMLT 2006-1 loans were on nonowner occupied homes and not the lower percentage that was quoted. Close to 56% of LBMLT 2006-1 have since defaulted, gone into foreclosure, or become delinquent.
Most of the ex-WaMu and Long Beach officers named in the complaint, save for ex-chief financial officer Thomas Case and ex-Home Loans group head Craig Davis, were midlevel employees. It was just earlier this year that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. sued three ex-WaMu executives for allegedly gambling billions of the bank’s money on risky home loans while they lined their own pockets.
Defendants named then were ex-Chief Executive Kerry Killinger, ex-Chief Operating Officer Stephen Rotella, and ex-WaMu home loans division president David Schneider. The three men are accused of earning $95 million in compensation between 2005 and 2008.
US banking regulators have sued over 150 bank officials in their efforts to get back at least $3.6 billion in losses linked to the 2007-2009 economic crisis.
If you are an investor that suffered losses related to mortgage-backed securities when the housing bubble burst, you might have grounds for a securities fraud case.
23 ex-WaMu employees named in federal suit, The Seattle Times, September 8, 2011
Ex-WaMu Execs Sued By FDIC For Gross Negligence Over Bank’s Collapse – READ The Lawsuit, Huffington Post, March 17, 2011
More Blog Posts:
$63 Million Mortgage-Backed Securities Lawsuit Against Bank of America is Second One Filed by Western and Southern Life Insurance Co. Against the Financial Firm, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, August 29, 2011
NCUA Sues Goldman Sachs for $491M Over $1.2B of Mortgage-Back Securities Sales That Caused Credit Unions’ Failure, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, August 23, 2011