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CalPERS CalSTRS $300-Million Settlement with JP Morgan

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced a settlement with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. over its misrepresentations in residential mortgage-backed securities sold to California’s public employee and teacher pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTRS, between 2004 and 2008.

According to the terms of the settlement, California will recover $298,973,000 in damages.

“JP Morgan Chase profited by giving California’s pension funds incomplete information about mortgage investments,” Attorney General Harris said. “This settlement returns the money to California’s pension funds that JP Morgan wrongfully took from them.”

An investigation conducted by Attorney General Harris showed that offering documents for the securities failed to accurately disclose the true characteristics of many of the underlying mortgages, and that due diligence to weed out poor quality loans had not been adequately performed.

The broader settlement reached today by the United States Department of Justice and other federal and state agencies totals $13 billion, and represents the largest settlement with a single entity in American history.

CalPERS and CalSTRS will be reimbursed through this settlement for losses on investments in mortgage-backed securities of J.P. Morgan Chase or its predecessors Washington Mutual Bank and Bear Stearns.

J.P. Morgan Chase will also provide $4 billion in relief to aid consumers across the country, including Californians, harmed by the unlawful conduct of J.P. Morgan Chase, Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual. That relief will take various forms, including principal forgiveness, loan modification, targeted originations and efforts to reduce blight. An independent monitor will be appointed to determine whether J.P. Morgan Chase is satisfying its obligations.

The settlement related to California’s pension funds arises from the investigation into mortgage-backed securities by Attorney General Harris’s Mortgage Fraud Strike Force, which was formed in May 2011 to comprehensively investigate misconduct in the mortgage industry. The Attorney General’s additional efforts to investigate the mortgage crisis include securing an estimated $20 billion for California in the National Mortgage Settlement and sponsoring the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, a package of laws instituting permanent mortgage-related reforms.

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