DOJ Investigating Violations Of Military Lending Protections

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–The U.S. Attorney General has “several” ongoing investigations into violations of a law meant to protect active-duty members of the military from high interest rates and foreclosures.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice said in an emailed statement that the investigations are looking into lenders who overcharged and foreclosed against the homes of servicemembers without court orders.

The spokeswoman declined to identify which lenders were under investigation or how long the investigations had been ongoing.

Last week J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) admitted it had overcharged more than 4,000 family members and foreclosed on 14 in problems it turned up after an internal review. Chase is facing a civil lawsuit in South Carolina from U.S. Marine Capt. Jonathan Rowles, who claims he was overcharged and is seeking punitive damages.

Chase’s review is ongoing and the bank said it has now set up a dedicated team of employees to handle military loans. It is mailing about $2 million to the overcharged servicemembers and had already resolved 13 of the foreclosures.

“We deeply regret any difficulty this has caused the Rowles and anyone in the armed forces who experienced problems,” a statement from the bank read. “There is no excuse for the problems they encountered with their loans.”

Richard Harpootlian, Rowles’ lawyer, said previously that he had contacted prosecutors about his client. He added Chase’s lawyers said in court that prosecutors had contacted them.

Chase declined to comment about the Department of Justice.

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