Allstate filed a complaint in Manhattan federal court against Bank of America's Countrywide mortgage division, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. Allstate claims Countrywide misrepresented mortgage-backed securities worth over $700 million.
The securities in question were purchased between March 2005 and June 2007 and Allstate claims they suffered "drastic and rapid loss in value" as the mortgage crisis kicked off.
"The defendants knew the loans offloaded onto Allstate were a toxic mix of loans given to borrowers that could not afford the properties, and thus were highly likely to default," Bloomberg cited Allstate's complaint, filed Tuesday.
Bill Halldin, a spokesman for Bank of America, said in a statement that the complaint was still under review, but attributed it to a "sophisticated investor" who is "looking for someone to blame" for bad investments, according to Bloomberg.
The suit names Bank of America and Countrywide as defendants, as well as former officials like Angelo Mozilo, former chairman and chief executive officer of Countrywide, Bloomberg reports. The suit alleges fraud, negligent misrepresentation and violation of securities laws; it further claims that Countrywide "began ignoring its own underwriting standards in 2003" to increase its share of the mortgage market.
Countrywide allegedly misled investors regarding those underwriting guidelines and exceptions used to "circumvent guidelines," in addition to the rate at which mortgaged properties were owner-occupied, and the value of the mortgaged homes, according to Bloomberg.
Bloomberg notes that Liberty Mutual, a competitor to Allstate, sued Goldman Sachs in July over mortgage related investments after the financial firm allegedly misled investors in 2007 over preferred stock in Fannie Mae.