WASHINGTON — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder Wednesday questioning whether a major government settlement with the nation’s largest mortgage companies is merely a way to absolve banks of malpractice under a “timid enforcement strategy.”
The letter follows months of criticism from Warren over weak penalties imposed on banks accused of defrauding consumers and investors. She has denounced settlement strategies that allow financial firms to set aside past violations without acknowledging wrongdoing.
Wednesday’s letter addresses a settlement among the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Housing Administration and 49 state attorneys general over charges that major banks submitted a torrent of false claims in pursuit of government benefits. In February 2012, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial agreed to pay $25 billion to settle allegations that they forged signatures, fabricated documents and engaged in other illegal practices during foreclosures.