Deutsche Bank pays $202M in NY mortgage fraud deal

Deutsche Bank agreed to pay $202 million to settle civil fraud charges brought by the federal government over the practices of a subsidiary it acquired five years ago, authorities announced Thursday.

A federal judge in Manhattan approved the deal reached by representatives of the Frankfurt, Germany-based bank and the government.

Under the agreement, Deutsche Bank AG admitted that it didn't follow all federal housing regulations when it made substantial profits between 2007 and 2009 from the resale of risky mortgages through its subsidiary MortgageIT.

According to the agreement, Deutsche Bank admitted that it was in a position to know that MortgageIT's operations did not conform fully to all of the government's regulations, policies and handbooks. The subsidiary employed more than 2,000 people at branches in all 50 states. The bank agreed to pay $202.3 million to the U.S. Department of Justice within a month.

Deutsche Bank said in a statement Thursday that it was pleased to put the issue behind it.

"This marks a significant step in resolving our mortgage-related exposures," the bank said.

The government said in its lawsuit the bank's failures caused the government to foot the bill for loans that defaulted.

MortgageIT had been a Federal Housing Administration lender operating with government oversight for almost a decade. The mortgage insurance is issued by the FHA.

The lawsuit against Deutsche Bank sought to recover more than $386 million that the Department of Housing and Urban Development has paid out in FHA insurance claims and related costs arising out of MortgageIT's approval of more than 3,100 mortgages, including 1,400 loans that have defaulted so far. It said HUD had paid more than $97 million in FHA claims and related costs arising out of more than 600 mortgages that defaulted within six months.

HUD sets the rules for the FHA mortgage insurance program, including requirements relating to the adequacy of the borrower's income to meet mortgage payments, the borrower's creditworthiness and the appropriateness of the valuation of the property being purchased.

The lawsuit said Deutsche Bank and MortgageIT failed to comply with HUD rules and regulations regarding required quality control procedures, and then lied about their purported compliance.

In a release Thursday, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Deutsche Bank and the subsidiary "treated FHA insurance as free government money to backstop lending practices that did not follow the rules."

He said the compensation agreed to by Deutsche Bank will significantly compensate HUD for the losses it incurred.