FBI Investigating IndyMac

July 17, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Sources say the California-based bank is now under investigation by the FBI for possible fraudWhile the FBI isn't confirming the probe, sources close to the investigation say the FBI is looking into whether IndyMac engaged in fraud when making home loans to risky borrowers.

"I would suspect they are looking at bad appraisals, bad underwriting which would mean false statements on loan applications," said former Justice Department Prosecutor Josh Hochberg.

Mortgage fraud is a major concern for the FBI. Some 200 agents are investigating 21 companies including the nation's largest mortgage lender, Countrywide Financial. But FBI officials aren't going into detail about their investigations. "Our mortgage fraud caseload has doubled in the past three years to more than 1,400 pending investigations," said FBI Director Robert Mueller.

With caseloads increasing, experts wonder if the feds have enough manpower to crackdown: "There's been so many issues associated with the mortgage failures and the subsequent losses that the question is whether the FBI has enough resources working these cases," said Hochberg.

The Federal Reserve is putting in place tougher rules to stop deceptive lending practices. "The final rules prohibit lenders from making higher priced loans without due regard for consumers ability to make the scheduled payments," said Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

To ease consumer confidence IndyMac is under government now control but some critics say regulators needed to take action sooner.


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