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Appeals Court Reverses RICO Fraud Class Action Against Bank of America, Allowing Homeowners’ Lawsuit to Proceed


08/15/2016

Massive consumer victory upholds claims that BoA’s HAMP mortgage-modification program was a RICO enterprise

DENVER Today, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that Hagens Berman and their clients can proceed on their claims that Bank of America’s massive Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) was an unlawful racketeering enterprise. The court allowed the case to proceed on behalf of all Bank of America mortgage holders that the RICO enterprise wrongfully denied the streamlined modification process mandated by Congress when it paid Bank of America $45 billion in bailout funds.

Hagens Berman filed the pending class-action lawsuit against Bank of America in the U.S. District Court in Colorado on July 10, 2013. The action alleged the bank and third-party administrators including Urban Lending Solutions created and headed a racketeering enterprise designed to mislead, delay and deny eligible homeowners loan modifications as part of the government-mandated HAMP program.

The Tenth Circuit’s decision followed other circuits in holding that the HAMP trial-plan offers contain enforceable promises to the bank’s customers, and upheld plaintiffs’ claims of racketeering, stating: “Because the plaintiffs sufficiently allege the existence of a RICO association-in-fact enterprise distinct from BOA, Urban [Lending Solution]’s participation in the conduct of that enterprise, and that both defendants engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity, we reverse the district court’s dismissal of the plaintiffs’ RICO claim and remand for further proceedings.”

“We are more than pleased the court has ruled our complaint has sufficiently alleged that Bank of America’s massive HAMP mortgage-modification program was in fact a RICO enterprise,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman. “For years, we have tirelessly fought this major Wall Street kingpin to right the wrongs it committed against hundreds of thousands of homeowners and taxpayers who footed the $45 billion government bailout BoA took in, only to have it used to propagate a scheme to squeeze every dollar from BoA customers and wrongfully foreclose thousands of homes in the process.”

The complaint states that Bank of America repeatedly lied to homeowners and masterminded a scheme

to systematically fail to grant loan modifications in a deliberate and coordinated plan orchestrated by the bank. The lawsuit alleges that while BofA promised it would work with homeowners to modify their mortgages under the HAMP program in return for the bailout funds, the bank instead fought to avoid granting modifications. Former employees, according to the complaint, have confirmed that Bank of America instructed its employees to delay modifications, assert that it had not received paperwork and payments when it had received them, and declined modifications en masse in periods known internally as “blitzes.”

If you have witnessed the delaying of home loan modifications or other behavior from Bank of America you believe to be fraudulent, find out more about the lawsuit against BoA, and please contact Hagens Berman with information about what you witnessed.

The lawsuit asks for damages to be awarded to a proposed class defined as: “All individuals whose home mortgage loans have been serviced by BOA and who, since April 13, 2009, (1) applied to BOA for a HAMP loan modification, (2) fulfilled an FHA Trial Period Plan Agreement or any other trial-payment agreement that was not issued pursuant to SD-09 (form 3156), (3) sent documents to, or received documents or other communications from, Urban employees in connection with their attempts to modify their home mortgage, and (4) did not receive, within 30 days after making all required trial payments, a permanent loan modification that complied with HAMP rules.”

Find out more about the lawsuit against Bank of America.

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About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with offices in 10 cities. The firm has been named to the National Law Journal’s Plaintiffs’ Hot List eight times. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.
 

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