Freedom Mortgage Corporation will pay the United States $113 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by knowingly originating and underwriting single family mortgage loans insured by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Federal Housing Administration (FHA) that did not meet the FHA insurance requirements .
According to documents, Freedom Mortgage did not comply with FHA rules for the mortgages it was generating and did not adequately monitor early payment defaults.It also failed to report to HUD the defaults it did discover, as required by its participation in the program.
As part of the settlement, Freedom Mortgage Corporation admitted that: Between Jan. 1, 2006 and Dec. 31, 2011, it certified mortgage loans for FHA insurance that did not meet HUD underwriting requirements and were therefore not eligible for FHA mortgage insurance. Additionally, Freedom Mortgage Corporation did not adhere to FHA’s quality control (QC) requirements. Between 2006 and 2008, Freedom Mortgage Corporation did not share its early payment default (EPD) QC reviews with production and underwriting management, nor did it require responses to its EPD QC findings from its production or underwriting staff. Due to staffing limitations between 2008 and 2010, Freedom Mortgage Corporation did not always perform timely QC reviews or perform audits of all EPD loans, as required by HUD. An EPD is a loan that becomes 60 days past due within the first six months of the loan. The EPD QC reviews that Freedom Mortgage Corporation did perform revealed high defect rates, exceeding 30 percent between 2008 and 2010. Yet, between 2006 and 2011, Freedom Mortgage Corporation did not report a single improperly originated loan to HUD, despite its obligation to do so. Additionally, in 2012, after identifying hundreds of loans that “possibly should have been self-reported to HUD,” it reported only one. As a result of Freedom Mortgage Corporation’s conduct, HUD insured hundreds of loans that were not eligible for FHA mortgage insurance under the DEL program, and that HUD would not otherwise have insured and subsequently incurred substantial losses when it paid insurance claims on the ineligible loans approved by Freedom Mortgage Corporation.
Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers.