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Ellington Sues Ameriquest Over Bad Subprime Mortgages

Bloomberg – Ellington Management Group LLC, the hedge-fund firm focused on mortgage bonds, sued Ameriquest Mortgage Co. and other ACC Capital Holdings units over soured subprime home loans.

Funds run by Old Greenwich, Connecticut-based Ellington saw the value of $354 million of investments in securities backed by the loans “largely lost” following misrepresentations about the debt’s risks, according to a complaint filed Jan. 14 in federal court in New York.

Ellington joins M&T Bank Corp. and HSH Nordbank AG in turning to the courts to recoup losses from bad mortgage bonds. Insurers including PMI Group Inc. and MBIA Inc. have sought to recover or block claims through lawsuits. Ameriquest’s lending failed to meet its own guidelines when it didn’t verify borrowers’ employment, ignored past late payments and misstated whether they lived in properties, according to the complaint.

The defendants’ “liability arises not from increasing default rates associated with a general economic downturn, but from their fraud — from lying to Ellington about the riskiness of the loans,” Ellington said in the complaint.

Defendants in the lawsuit against Ameriquest, parent ACC Capital Holdings and other related companies — once collectively the largest U.S. subprime lender — include businesses bought by Citigroup Inc. in 2007, according to the complaint. The suit didn’t name Citigroup.

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