DOJ Reaches $11.7M Deal With IberiaBank Over False Claims

The Associated Press

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) IberiaBank has agreed to pay $11.7 million in a settlement with federal officials over allegations the bank and its mortgage company made false claims for loan guarantees, the U.S. Justice Department announced Friday.

The Justice Department said the Lafayette, Louisiana-based banking company acknowledged that between 2005 and 2014 it certified Federal Housing Administration mortgage loans that didn't meet federal requirements and shouldn't have been eligible for FHA mortgage insurance. During the same time, federal officials say the company didn't self-report violations of federal requirements or perform required quality reviews in a timely manner.

Loan files lacked sufficient documents to corroborate borrowers' incomes and down payments and contained unresolved appraisal discrepancies, federal officials said.

"Mortgage lenders must follow FHA program rules designed to avoid putting federal funds at risk and increasing the chances that borrowers may lose their homes," Chad A. Readler, head of the Justice Department's Civil Division, said in a statement.

The settlement stemmed from a whistleblower lawsuit filed by two former IberiaBank employees from Little Rock, Arkansas. DOJ said the ex-workers will receive a 20 percent share of the dollars recovered.

IberiaBank Corp. has branches in Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

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