California AG Files Mortgage-Backed Securities Suit Against Investment Bank

Banking  •  Mortgage  •  State AGs  •  UDAP/UDAAP

On April 1, 2016, the California Attorney General announced that it filed suit against a prominent investment bank for alleged “misrepresentations about complex investments such as residential mortgage-backed securities, in which large pools of home loans were packaged together and sold to investors.”  The eight-count complaint, which was filed in San Francisco Superior Court, alleged that the investment bank violated the California False Claims Act, (Counts I & II), the Corporate Securities Law of 1969 (Counts III – VI), and California’s False Advertising & Unfair Competition Laws (Count VII & VIII) by “creating, assembling and packaging risky structured finance securities” in the lead up to the 2007-2008 financial crisis.  The complaint alleges that the investment bank “knew of the risks of the securities” but “consciously chose to ignore red flags and conceal hazards from potential and actual purchasers of the securities.”  The AG alleges that two state investors–the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System–sustained “massive losses” as a result of the investment bank’s unlawful acts.  The complaint seeks three times actual damages, civil penalties, injunctive relief, disgorgement, restitution, and attorneys’ fees and costs.

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