rules Goldman must face lawsuit over mortgage securities
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[March 28, 2014]
By Dena Aubin
NEW YORK (Reuters) — A proposed class
action by a Detroit pension fund accusing Goldman Sachs of
misleading investors about mortgage-backed securities can go
forward, a federal judge has ruled.
Filed in 2010 by Detroit's police and fire retirement system, the
lawsuit accused Goldman of misrepresenting the standards used to
qualify borrowers for mortgage loans that were pooled into
securities and bought by the fund.
The lawsuit is one of thousands filed against Goldman and other
banks over mortgage securities that collapsed in value in the wake
of the 2007-2008 financial crisis.
Goldman spokesman Michael DuVally declined comment.
According to court documents, the pension fund purchased about $1.8
million of the securities from a mortgage loan trust created by
Goldman in 2007. Goldman issued over $790 million of securities
through the trust, the documents said.
Offering documents for the securities said lenders reviewed whether
borrowers would be able to meet their monthly payments, when in
reality mortgages were issued without regard to borrowers' ability
to pay, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit also said that lenders inflated borrowers' incomes and
that appraisers submitted falsely inflated property appraisals.
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In a ruling on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Miriam Cedarbaum said
that the offering documents were "affirmatively misleading" and
denied Goldman's bid to have the lawsuit dismissed.
Goldman had argued that the underwriting policies were only
guidelines and lenders had the discretion to deviate from them.
However, Cedarbaum ruled that exceptions to underwriting standards
were not the same as a wholesale abandonment of them.
The case is Police and Fire Retirement System of the City of Detroit
et al v Goldman Sachs & Co et al, U.S. District Court, Southern
District of New York, No 10-cv-4429
(Editing by Stephen Coates)
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