Allstate accused JPMorgan Chase of fraud in a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court yesterday.
The insurance company claims that JPMorgan , Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual sold it over $750 million of mortgage-backed securities under the guise that they were highly rated, safe securities, while knowing that the underlying loan pools were "toxic." JPMorgan acquired Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns in 2008.
The banks "knew the pool was a toxic mix of loans given to borrowers that could not afford the properties, and thus were highly likely to default," according to Allstate's complaint.
The lawsuit also alleges that JPMorgan, Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns misstated the characteristics of the mortgages, such as the loan-to-value ratios. It says the banks lied to the ratings agencies to get higher ratings on the securities than they deserved.
"The systemic (but hidden) abandonment of the disclosed underwriting guidelines has predictably led to soaring default rates" in the underlying mortgages, according to the complaint.
JPMorgan Chase did not respond immediately to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
In December, 2010, AllState filed a similar lawsuit against Bank of America.