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Bank of America Accused of Racketeering in Foreclosure Lawsuit

Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Bank of America Corp. and its Countrywide Home Loans unit were accused of racketeering in a lawsuit filed by two Indiana residents claiming that perjured affidavits were used to foreclose on their home.

Dwayne Ransom Davis and Melisa Davis filed the complaint yesterday in federal court in Indianapolis. Their lawyer, Irwin Levin, confirmed the filing in a phone interview. The filing couldn’t be independently verified.

“The defendants and their cohorts engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity in which they routinely and repeatedly prepared perjured affidavits in order to rapidly churn foreclosures,” the couple said in the complaint.

Bank of America, the largest U.S. lender, resumed foreclosures on Oct. 18, after a 10-day nationwide pause to review more than 100,000 cases.

“Our assessment shows underlying information provided as the basis for our past foreclosure decisions is accurate,” Rick Simon, a spokesman for the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank, said in an e-mailed statement earlier yesterday.

Simon was responding then to an announcement by Tom Dart, sheriff of Cook County, Illinois, which includes Chicago, that he will halt foreclosure evictions starting Oct. 25 unless Bank of America and two other lenders provide him with assurances that the proceedings are being lawfully pursued.

“To my knowledge, we have not seen this suit and cannot comment on it,” Simon said of the Davis case in a later phone interview yesterday.

‘Robo-Signers’

The Davises accuse the lenders of using “robo-signers,” people who sign affidavits attesting to facts underlying foreclosures without actual knowledge of those facts, to push through paperwork to take their home in Knightstown, Indiana.

While the borrowers aren’t asking the court to reverse their foreclosure, they’re seeking compensatory damages tripled under federal racketeering laws, as well as class action, or group, status to sue on behalf of anyone whose home was allegedly taken since October 2006 under similar circumstances.

Levin said the group might include hundreds of thousands of people.

The case is Davis v. Countrywide Home Loans Inc., 10-cv-01303, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana (Indianapolis).

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew M. Harris in Chicago at aharris16@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David E. Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.net.

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