(STL.News) – The United States has filed a complaint under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 and the False Claims Act against Nutter Home Loans, f/k/a James B. Nutter & Co. (Nutter), for forging certifications and using unqualified underwriters to approve Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM), the Department of Justice announced today.
“The HECM program benefits America’s seniors and our communities,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “The Department is committed to holding accountable those who violate the bedrock requirements of this important program.”
“Companies participating in federal programs must operate with honor and integrity,” said Acting U.S Attorney Michael R. Sherwin for the District of Columbia. “This settlement sends a clear message that we will not tolerate fraud against programs designed to financially help our nation’s seniors.”
“Lenders who willfully disregard FHA requirements for HECM loans expose the program to significant financial losses that threaten the future availability of this important program to seniors,” said Rae Oliver Davis, Inspector General, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “This complaint is evidence that we will tirelessly investigate allegations of abuses of the HECM program by FHA lenders.”
The FHA, part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), offers numerous mortgage insurance programs intended to help build and sustain strong communities across America. The HECM program is a reverse mortgage program specifically for senior homeowners age 62 and older. The program allows seniors to access the equity in their residences, and thereby age in place in their family home, through a mortgage agreement with a lender that is insured against loss by the FHA. The United States’ complaint alleges that in order to significantly increase its loan production, Nutter used unqualified underwriters lacking the requirements established by HUD to review and approve HECMs that Nutter ultimately insured with the FHA. Moreover, on other loans, Nutter forged the signatures of qualified underwriters to make it appear that a qualified underwriter had reviewed and approved the loan.
This matter was investigated by the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, HUD, and HUD’s Office of Inspector General. The claims asserted against the defendant are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.