The attorneys general of all 50 U.S. states announced Wednesday that they are joining to probe mortgage loan servicers who are accused of submitting false affidavits, but they stopped short of calling for a national moratorium.
The multistate investigation will initially focus on whether Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Ally Financial and other large mortgage companies made misleading or fraudulent statements to evict struggling borrowers from their homes.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoellersaid investigators initially will focus on whether industry employees - so-called "robo-signers" - signed off on thousands of foreclosures every month without reviewing the files as legally required. Homeowner attorneys also allege that lenders forged signatures and improperly notarized documents.
Such actions might have violated laws against unfair and deceptive trade practices, which could result in civil penalties. Typically the laws have been used to protect consumers from false advertising, but state officials say they could also be applied to foreclosure.