Standard & Poor's sued over inflated mortgage investment ratings

On behalf of The Rollins Law Firm on Friday, February 15, 2013.

Many homeowners in Jackson and the surrounding area have been affected by the recent mortgage crisis in a number of different ways. The loss of a family home can be extremely difficult to live through, but stalling the foreclosure can be equally tough.

The major banks have not been the only entities to come under investigation as a result of the real estate market implosion. The financial service company Standard & Poor's (S&P) has now been accused by officials of exaggerating investment ratings on mortgage investments. According to the allegations, the agency strategically planned the inflations despite being aware that borrowers were increasingly unable to pay back mortgage loans.

Government officials have claimed that S&P executives deliberately kept investment ratings high in an effort to prevent its customers from becoming frustrated and moving their business elsewhere. Apparently, the concerns of at least one S&P executive were ignored in favor of the alleged real estate investment ratings misrepresentations.

Attorney generals from several states joined the Justice Department's announcement of the government's fraud lawsuit. Their states have filed - or will be filing - similar suits against S&P; according to the Justice Department, additional states are expected to file suit.

The government has compelled S&P to pay at least $5 billion in penalties, several times its regular annual revenue. Standard & Poor have denied the fraud accusations and have described the lawsuit as "meritless." Nevertheless, reported evidence against the company includes a large number of emails that purportedly show that the firm was aware of the problems in the housing market long before it took appropriate action.

The U.S. Attorney General has called the housing problems of recent years "the worst economic crisis in recent history." Indeed, many families in Mississippi have been deeply affected by the collapse of the industry, and financial challenges have been widespread across the state.

Individuals who have experienced foreclosure or are having trouble making mortgage payments may benefit from the fresh start offered by bankruptcy or another type of debt relief. An attorney practiced in the area of bankruptcy law can help in achieving your debt relief goals or assist in foreclosure related issues. Please reach out to one if you are feeling overwhelmed by debt or worried about foreclosure on your house.

Source: Northwest Herald, "U.S. sues S&P over pre-crisis mortgage ratings," Feb. 5, 2013

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