Lennar accused of manipulating borrower data in new lawsuit

The largest homebuilder in the country has been hit with a lawsuit accusing it of providing loans to unqualified borrowers.

Wanda Burling, 64, who worked as a senior quality control manager at Eagle Home Mortgage in Clearwater, FL, claims the company manipulated data to make it appear as though borrowers had more money in a bid to get more mortgages approved. The lawsuit, which Burling filed in Pinellas County Circuit Court in November, alleges that the homebuilder left out borrower’s debts, added reserves to their application, and did not inform them of appraisal costs.

Burling, who was fired in March 2017, says she repeatedly raised her concerns to Lennar upon becoming aware of the problems in 2016. The suit, which was first made public by the Tampa Bay Times, further claims that Burling became aware of the problems when an elderly man who had received a reverse mortgage from Eagle complained that he had already paid a loan appraisal fee when someone from the company told him he had to pay more.

According to Burling, Eagle accepted money from the borrower before he had signed anything showing that he wanted to proceed.

The ex-employee further claimed that Eagle failed to disclose close ties between Eagle employees to borrowers. According to Burling, the loan originator, appraiser and loan processor were all related to each other in at least four cases.

Only a few months ago, another Lennar subsidiary related to Eagle agreed to pay the federal government $ 13.2 million to settle allegations that it falsely certified Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgages.

Burling, who is seeking back pay with interest and compensatory damages from Lennar, claims Eagle’s management told her to “drop the issue” and not contact the FHA or Veterans Affairs with her concerns. Her supervisor also allegedly told Burling that she’d be “blackballed from the mortgage industry” if she persisted with bringing up the issues.

Lennar told reporters that it does not comment on pending litigation.

Email Veronika Bondarenko

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