Captive (lender-owned) appraisal management companies are again the target of a class-action lawsuit.
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, the same firm that sued Countrywide and its LandSafe subsidiary in January, is now going after Wells Fargo and Rels Valuation.
The plaintiffs, a couple who received a mortgage from Wells in 2007, allege the defendants netted more than $100 million in phony and unearned fees by charging them a full appraisal fee, paying below-market rates to appraisers and pocketing the difference. Wells and Rels face RESPA and RICO charges, as well as allegations that they violated state law.
The Arizona Republic quoted Wells Fargo Spokeswoman Marjorie Rice as saying, “We believe our appraisal process is fair, accurate, consistent with all governing appraisal standards and focused on obtaining objective assessments of the residential properties involved.”