Twelve plaintiffs on Monday combined to file a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in the New York State Supreme Court [official website] against Countrywide Financial Corporation [NYT backgrounder] alleging widespread fraud that resulted in substantial financial losses. The plaintiffs invested hundreds of millions of dollars with the Bank of America (BOA) [corporate website] subsidiary between 2005 and 2007, believing the purchases of mortgage-backed securities to be "conservative, low-risk investments." The suit claims that Countrywide "recklessly" misrepresented the stability of the investments and failed to adhere to its stated underwriting and credit analysis procedures, leading the credit ratings of many of the securities to fall significantly. The complaint also names several former Countrywide executives as defendants, and seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
BOA has recently been the target of several lawsuits alleging fraud. Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard filed a lawsuit in mid-December against BOA for misleading customers [JURIST report] in mortgage modification and foreclosure practices. Earlier in the month, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) [official website] reached a $137 million settlement agreement [JURIST report] with BOA over fraud charges [order, PDF] in a lawsuit that claimed BOA used anti-competitive bidding processes with 20 state municipalities. In June, BOA subsidiary Countrywide Home Loans, Inc reached [JURIST report] a $108 million settlement agreement [text, PDF] with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) [official website] in response to a lawsuit that charged it with collecting excessive fees from homeowners facing foreclosure.