October 3, 2012 —
NEW YORK CITY — Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced a $7.8 million settlement with eAppraiseIT, formerly one of the nation’s largest real estate appraisal management companies, and its parent corporation, First American Corporation, for colluding with savings and loan giant Washington Mutual to inflate the values of homes. The settlement resolves charges that the corporation violated appraiser independence laws, which regulate the conduct of real estate appraisers.
“Coercion of appraisers to inflate home values and the erosion of appraisal independence directly contributed to the housing crisis. By giving in to lender pressure, these corporations violated a principle that is vital to restoring and maintaining a healthy housing market,” said Schneiderman on October 2. “Today’s settlement demonstrates our office’s commitment to investigating the causes of the mortgage crisis and holding wrongdoers accountable. We will continue to litigate cases arising out of the financial crisis vigorously and take defendants to trial as needed.”