The United States government is seeking penalties from Bank of America over the institution's “Hustle” loan production program, which “urged workers to churn out loans, accept fudged applications and hide ballooning defaults,” according to court papers that were filed late Friday. The Associated Press reports that, as predicted, U.S. attorney Preet Bharara is asking that Bank of America pay out the same amount as “the maximum losses racked up from the Hustle program by the government-run mortgage buyers,” or $864 million.
In the first mortgage-fraud case brought by the U.S. to go to trial, the generally problematic bank was found guilty last month for selling the government-sponsored entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac thousands of defective loans through its Countrywide unit, Bloomberg News explains. On Saturday, Bank of America spokesman Lawrence Grayson said, "We believe the filing overstates the volume of loans and the appropriate measure of damages arising from one narrow Countrywide program that lasted several months and ended before Bank of America acquired the company." He added the bank will respond to the government's penalty filing before the November 20 deadline.