Articles Tagged with RMBS Fraud

A jury has found Michael Gramins guilty of conspiracy to lie about mortgage bond prices. Gramins was one of three ex-Nomura (NMR) residential mortgage-backed securities traders charged with fraud and accused of defrauding clients of millions of dollars.

Aside from the guilty RMBS fraud verdict for conspiracy, Gramins was found not guilty of six fraud counts. The jury did not arrive at a verdict on two other charges against him.

Meantime, ex-Nomura trader Tyler Peters was acquitted on all of the criminal fraud charges against him. Although jurors cleared former Nomura trader Ross Shapiro of eight fraud counts, they were unable to arrive at a verdict regarding one conspiracy count against him. It wll be up to prosecutors to decide whether they want to retry Gramins and Shapiro on the counts that were not resolved.

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UBS Group AG (UBS) has paid the National Credit Union Administration $445M to settle claims brought on behalf of Western Corporate Federal Credit Union and U.S. Central Federal Credit Union, which both failed after they sustained losses from residential mortgage-backed securities they purchased through the broker-dealer.The two credit unions went into conservatorship several years ago and have since shut down.

UBS settled this latest case without denying or admitting to wrongdoing. The lender had previously paid NCUA $79.3M to resolve similar allegations involving two other credit unions that also failed. With that settlement, the bank also did not deny or admit wrongdoing.

To date, NCUA has recovered nearly $5B in settlements from big banks related to the faulty securities that they sold to corporate credit unions.

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The US Securities and Exchange Commission said that Barclays Capital (BARC) has agreed to pay over $16.5M as part of a settlement resolving allegations accusing the company of failing to properly supervise two of its ex-mortgage bond traders. The men are accused of lying to clients, as well as overcharging some of them. According to the regulator, Barclays did not put into place or execute the proper supervisory procedures that could have stopped or detected the alleged residential mortgage-backed securities fraud.

The two traders, David Wong and Yoon Seok Lee, are accused of making misleading or false statements to the firm’s customers about RMBS securities, how much Barclays makes for facilitating the trades, and other pertinent information. Lee and Wong also are accused of making excessive mark-ups on certain transactions without telling customers.

The SEC said that the ex-Barclays traders’ actions, which would have occurred between 6/2009 and 12/2012, caused Barclays to earn $15.5M in profits.

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Jesse Litvak, a former Jefferies Group LLC (JEF) bond trader, is scheduled to go on trial again. It was just two years ago that a jury found him guilty of fraud when he misled customers about the price he paid for residential mortgage-backed bonds.

The criminal charges against him were originally brought by the US attorney’s office in Connecticut three years ago. Prosecutors accused him of bilking customers of $2M when he inflated the prices of what he’d actually paid for the bonds. Because of purported misstatements, professional investment managers and hedge funds overpaid for the residential-mortgage-backed bonds. Meantime, Litvak allegedly made $100K more for his firm for every transaction than was disclosed to his customers.

The jury, in 2014, found that Litvak violated securities laws and they found him guilty on 15 criminal counts, including multiple counts of securities fraud. Litvak had pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. He was then sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay a $1.75M.

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said that First Mortgage Corporation (FMC) and six of its executives will pay $12.7M to resolve charges accusing them of running a RMBS fraud scam to bilk investors. The Government National Mortgage Association, also known as Ginnie Mae, guaranteed the residential mortgage-backed securities. The mortgage lending company is the one that issued the Ginnie Mae RMBS and the securities were backed by loans that FMC had originated.

According to the regulator, from 3/11 to 3/15, FMC’s top executives withdrew performing loans from Ginnie Mae residential mortgage-backed securities by making false claims that they were delinquent so that it could sell them into newly issued RMBS and make a profit. The mortgage company’s improper and deceptive use of a Ginnie Mae rule giving issuers the choice to rebuy loans that had been delinquent for at least three months caused the prospectuses of the original RMBS to become misleading and false.

The SEC also claims that FMC purposely held back on depositing the checks of borrowers who were late on their loans by making false claims to Ginnie Mae and investors that these loans had stayed delinquent when they were, in fact, current. In its complaint, the regulator said that FMC’s top management approved these actions.

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More than three years after IKB Deutsche Industriebank AG sued Morgan Stanley (MS) for over $147.1M in residential mortgage-backed securities, the brokerage firm is asking the New York appeals court to dismiss the case. Morgan Stanley claims that it was the German lender that did not conduct the necessary due diligence.

IKB claims the Morgan Stanley provided offering documents that left out or did not properly characterize different underwriting standards involving the loans that were underlying the securities. The bank claims there were misrepresentations and omissions regarding loan-to value ratios.

The lender says it received inaccurate information about the underlying loans related to how much homeowners had borrowed, the securities’ credit ratings, and the percentage of properties that were occupied by the owners. IKB cited purportedly incorrect statements made about trusts, loans, and mortgages. It accused Morgan Stanley of taking the loans from different originators and bundling them together to package the securities despite knowing there were issues that could make the RMBS problematic.

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Morgan Stanley Settles RMBS Case with FDIC
Morgan Stanley (MS) will pay $62.9M to resolve allegations that it misrepresented residential mortgage-backed securities prior to the 2008 financial crisis. The deal was reached with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which sued the investment bank on behalf of Colonial Bank in Alabama, Security Savings Bank in Nevada, and United Western Bank in Colorado. All three banks failed after or during the crisis. By settling, Morgan Stanley is not denying or admitting liability.

According to the FDIC, in offering documents Morgan Stanley misrepresented claims for 14 RMBS mortgage backed securities. This is not the first time the investment bank has reached a deal over RMBS with the FDIC. In 2015, the firm resolved similar claims brought on behalf of Franklin Bank in Texas for $24M.

Also last year, Morgan Stanley arrived at a deal for $2.6B to resolve a U.S. Department of Justice probe into mortgage bonds. The government accused the investment bank of misrepresenting the quality of home loans packed into bonds.

Assett Management Firm Must Face RMBS Lawsuit Brought by Hedge Funds
A New York Court refused to grant TCW Asset Management Company’s motion to dismiss RMBS fraud claims brought Basis Yield Alpha Fund and Basis Pac-Rim Opportunity Fund. The Cayman Island hedge funds claim that TWC Asset Management marketed a system for dealing with the RMBS market that it claimed could determine which were the good investments. The purported strategy involved the collateralized debt obligation Dutch Hill Funding II, Ltd., which took a net long position on high-risk RMBS.

The two hedge funds invested over $28.1M in Dutch Hill in May 2007. By July, their investment had become worthless. They sued TCW Asset Management Company in 2012, accusing the firm of fraudulent misrepresentations and a failure to choose Dutch Hill’s RMBS collateral in the ways that it promised. The Basis Funds contended that the defendant knew that the investment strategy couldn’t get the job done.

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In North Carolina, U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. said that Bank of America Corp. (BAC) would have to face government two residential mortgage-backed securities lawsuits. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice contend that the bank misled investors about the quality of loans tied to $850 million in RMBS.

Bank of America wanted the cases dismissed. It argued that the investors, both financial institutions, never sued the bank.

Judge Cogburn, however, found that the SEC’s lawsuit properly laid out that the bank lied about the mortgages’ projected health in its RMBS fraud case. With the DOJ’s case, he gave the department 30 days to revise its securities lawsuit. He found that the Justice Department did not properly state its argument, which was that bank documents included false statements while leaving out key facts.

Bloomberg is reporting that U.S. prosecutors want Bank of America Corp. (BAC) to settle state and federal investigations into the lender’s sale of home loan-backed bonds leading up to the 2008 financial crisis by paying over $13 billion. The bank is one of at least eight financial institutions that the Department of Justice and state attorneys general are investigating for misleading investors about the quality of the loans that were backing mortgages just as housing prices fell.

A lot of Bank of America’s loans came from its purchase of Countrywide Financial Corp., a subprime lender, and Merrill Lynch & Co., which packaged a lot of the loans into bonds.

If there ends up being no deal, the government could sue the bank.