DOJ Settles with New Jersey Mortgage Lender Over False Claims Act Violations
On April 15, the DOJ announced a $113 million settlement with a New Jersey-based mortgage company to resolve allegations that the mortgage lender violated the False Claims Act. According to the DOJ, the mortgage company – acting as a direct endorsement lender in HUD’s Federal Housing Administration (FHA) program – knowingly originated and accepted FHA-insured mortgage loans that did not properly comply with HUD origination, underwriting, and quality control requirements. As part of the settlement agreement, the mortgage company agreed that it failed to (i) meet HUD underwriting requirements from January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2011; (ii) adhere to FHA’s quality control requirements between 2006 and 2008 by not sharing with production and underwriting management its early payment default quality control review; (iii) perform timely quality control reviews or perform audits of early payment defaults between 2008 and 2010; and (iv) report improperly originated loans between 2006 and 2011. The DOJ’s investigation further found that, after conducting a review of FHA loans underwritten between 2007 and 2012, the mortgage company self-reported to HUD only one of hundreds of loans that the company identified as not meeting FHA mortgage insurance requirements. Per the settlement agreement, the mortgage company must make an initial payment of $26 million by May 2, 2016.