Amid a flurry of lawsuits and government probes spinning out from Wells Fargo & Co.’s fake-accounts scandal, a group of California plaintiffs lawyers teamed up this week to bring a new employment suit, looking to test out an expanded set of legal theories.
Los Angeles-based lawyer Jonathan Delshad joined forces with a trio of other plaintiffs firms in California—Schonbrun Seplow Harris & Hoffman of Venice, McCracken Stemerman & Holsberry of San Francisco and Pessah Law Group of Los Angeles—to bring a proposed class action on behalf of former Wells Fargo employees.
The new suit, filed Dec. 27 in Oakland federal court, follows an earlier class action complaintin California state court that Delshad brought in September. Both are grounded in similar allegations that Wells Fargo set unreasonably aggressive sales goals for low-level employees and that, in turn, employees often wound up using fake customer contact information to open new accounts and meet sales quotas.
Bank of America and a Colorado outsourcing firm will have to face a lawsuit accusing them of sabotaging homeowners’ efforts to modify their mortgages, a federal appeals court has ruled.
The decision on Monday by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revives a 2013 proposed class action accusing Bank of America and Urban Settlement Solutions of violating the U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act by conspiring to deny government-sponsored mortgage assistance to thousands of qualified homeowners.
Homeowners accusing mortgage servicer Ocwen Financial Corp of charging them unnecessary default-related fees are asking a U.S. appeals court to revive their lawsuit, arguing that they have adequately alleged a fraudulent scheme.
Filed last year in Los Angeles federal court by lawyer Daniel Alberstone on behalf of a group of homeowners across the nation, the suit accused Ocwen of opportunistically ordering and then charging property inspections to borrowers in default. It sought damages for violations of several California state and federal laws, including the U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
Read more at Reutershttp://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/18/ocwen-appeal-idUSL1N13D0NG20151118#gqwUKB3WY5vRRUWy.99
LOS ANGELES (CN) – Victims of L.A. street gangs sued HSBC Bank in a federal RICO class action, claiming the bank is partly responsible because it accepts and launders money for the gangsters, who are associated with the Sinaloa drug cartel.
Four named plaintiffs sued the bank on Feb. 25, claiming that the bank “conspired to wrongfully take plaintiffs’ property, including money, hide its source through money laundering and use the money to fund the Sinaloa drug cartel.”
They claim that HSBC acknowledged its money laundering in a 2012 deferred-prosecution agreement with the federal government. Prosecutors identified more than 3,000 HSBC accounts used to launder money for the Sinaloa cartel, the plaintiffs say, citing a July 17, 2012 hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
Law360, Los Angeles (January 07, 2015, 4:17 PM ET) — Citibank NA and JPMorgan Chase & Co. on Tuesday escaped Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act claims in proposed class actions accusing them of charging unnecessary services to mortgage borrowers in default, after a California federal judge ruled that the plaintiffs failed to state a claim.
Granting the banks’ motion without leave to amend, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers decided that the two amended complaints didn’t offer sufficient evidence that the banks formed enterprises to perform unneeded property inspections and defraud borrowers.
Law360, San Francisco (September 30, 2014, 9:50 PM ET) — A California federal judge on Tuesday cast doubt on a pair of proposed class actions accusing Citibank NA and JPMorgan Chase & Co. of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act by charging property-inspection fees to mortgage borrowers in default, saying she didn’t think their inspection fee policies amounted to racketeering.
Citibank and Chase urged U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers to toss the complaints, arguing that both companies had been operating within their roles as loan servicers when they ordered a third-party company…
Wells Fargo Must Face RICO, Fraud Claims
(CN) – A federal judge in San Francisco refused to dismiss a class action accusing Wells Fargo of charging homebuyers who go into default inflated fees and interest rates.
In a lawsuit filed in February 2012, lead plaintiffs Latara Bias, Eric Breaux and Nan White-Price claimed Wells Fargo and J.P Morgan Chase marked up default-related fees charged by third-party vendors — often by 100 percent or more — and then passed the inflated bill to borrowers.
The plaintiffs said their mortgage contracts never disclosed that the lenders could mark up the actual cost of default-related services to make a profit.
Wells Fargo routinely assessed these inflated fees “even when they [were] unnecessary and inappropriate,” the 2012 lawsuit states.
“Employing this strategy, defendants are able to quietly profit from default-related service fees at the expense of struggling consumers,” the plaintiffs claimed. “Indeed, in the fourth quarter of 2011 alone, defendant Wells Fargo & Co. saw a 20 percent increase in profits.”
They sued for RICO violations, conspiracy to violate RICO, fraud and violatio ns of California’s business code.
The claims against J.P Morgan Chase were severed into a separate action.
In its motion to dismiss, Wells Fargo argued that Louisiana law should apply, not California law, because the plaintiffs bought homes in Louisiana.
But U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said the allegations go further up the chain.
“[D]rawing all reasonable inferences in favor of plaintiffs, the totality of plaintiffs’ allegations sufficiently state that the scheme was initiated and perpetrated by executives in California,” Rogers wrote.
She added that further discovery is needed to determine if the claim “is ultimately tied to California solely by a California headquarters.”
HARTFORD (CN) – Led by Trilegiant Corp., major banks and retailers “conspired to defraud hundreds of thousands of consumers” by cramming their credit cards for unauthorized “subscription services,” a RICO class action claims in Federal Court.
Lead defendants in the 90-page racketeering complaint are Trilegiant, its parent company the Affinion Group, and their “controlling owner,” Apollo Global Management.
Banking-credit card defendants include Bank of America, Capital One, Chase Bank, Citibank and Wells Fargo.
Retail-online defendants include Orbitz, PeopleFindersPro, Days Inn, Hotwire, United Online, IAC/Interactive, Buy.com and Priceline.
Lead plaintiff David Frank says: “This action is brought to redress the shocking behavior of some of this country’s largest companies, which have combined and conspired to defraud hundreds of thousands of consumers into paying for ‘club’ memberships and subscription services that the consumer never authorized. Each participant in this scheme profited handsomely from its participation, and each participant knew that the particulars of the scheme would result in consumers being defrauded.
Courthouse News Service.
SAN FRANCISCO – RICO class actions claim Citibank and JP Morgan Chase “conceal the unlawful assessment of improperly marked-up or unnecessary third-party fees for default-related services, cheating borrowers who can least afford it,” in Federal Court.
Here is the class action complaint.