Industry News

Appraisers accused of inflating home values

N.Y. attorney general says First American caved to WaMu's pressures

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New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said today that a major real estate appraisal company conspired with one of the largest mortgage lenders in the nation to inflate the appraised value of homes. Cuomo is suing First American Corp. and its subsidiary eAppraiseIT, accusing the companies of caving to pressure from Washington Mutual to use a list of preferred "proven appraisers" who he alleges provided inflated property appraisals. First America in a statement issued this afternoon said the Attorney General's lawsuit "has no foundation in fact or law." "The Attorney General's allegations, largely based on a handful of e-mails that have been taken out of context, or mischaracterized, and an incomplete review of the facts, belie our record of compliance with applicable law," the company said. "The program called into question today by the Attorney General has been vetted and approved by the federal regulator responsible for oversight of such programs." Appraisal fraud can damage the enti...