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Daily Real Estate News  |  November 2, 2007  |   Title Company Accused of Inflating Appraisals
New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced Thursday that the state is suing eAppraiselT, accusing it of caving in to pressure from its best customer Washington Mutual to use hand-picked appraisers who Cuomo says inflated home appraisals.

Cuomo released e-mails that he says show that executives were aware of the fraud between eAppraiselT, a subsidiary of First American Corp., and WaMu.

WaMu says it had no motive to inflate values and it is investigating the situation. First American said the lawsuit against its subsidiary "has no foundation in fact or law" and called Cuomo's accusations "specious."

About 265,000 loans to individuals and families over 18 months were subject to the inflated assessments, according to Cuomo. The amount the assessments exceeded true values isn't detailed in the lawsuit.

"It runs through the entire mortgage spectrum," Cuomo says. "Everyone is relying on the appraisal ... The appraisal is really the linchpin of the home buying transaction."

Source: The Associated Press, Michael Gormley (11/01/07)

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