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    U.S. Sues Major Mortgage Broker Over Lending Fraud

    In a lawsuit filed against one of the largest private mortgage brokers in the country, the United States alleges fraudulent lending practices by Allied Home Mortgage Capital Corp. cost the government $834 million in insurance claims paid by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    "Allied has profited for years as one of the nation's largest FHA lenders by engaging in reckless mortgage lending, flouting the requirements of the FHA mortgage insurance program, and repeatedly lying about its compliance," the U.S. said in the complaint, according to Bloomberg. "In the past decade, Allied has originated loans out of hundreds of branches it never disclosed to HUD."

    As the AP explains it, what the government alleges was going on here is that Allied had a number of unauthorized branches that worked with little to no quality control and which the government claims circumvented rules put in place to protect HUD, which resulted in a higher-than-usual number of homeowners falling behind on their mortgages. From 2006 to 2007, the default rate on mortgages the company sold was 55 percent.

    The AP reports:

    The government said Allied made substantial profits through the loans while it violated rules meant to protect HUD's insurance fund and deceived the agency by originating loans for years out of hundreds of "shadow" branches that were not approved by HUD.

    The deceitful practice was continued under Hodge's direction even after several senior managers voiced concerns, the lawsuit said.

    "Allied operated with impunity for many years due a culture of corruption created by Hodge, who eliminated the position of chief financial officer and other senior management positions, intimidated employees by spontaneous terminations and aggressive email monitoring, and silenced former employees by actual and threatened litigation against them," the lawsuit said. "As a result, Allied was able to conceal its dysfunctional operations and maintain its profitable position in the mortgage industry."

    Allied has not yet commented on the lawsuit.

    Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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    'It's A Surviving Tool': 'Native' Tells Satirical Stories Of Life In Israel

    NPR's Kelly McEvers talks to author Sayed Kashua, an Israeli-Palestinian whose satirical weekly columns in Haaretz newspaper are collected in his new book called Native.
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    What The Heck Is Natural Wine? Here's A Taste

    Natural wines can be off-putting at first: perhaps darker than usual, a little fizzy or cloudy. Some find them charming, others unsophisticated. Here's a guide to this trending, quirky style of wine.
    NPR

    Jim Gilmore, Who Was Campaigning For President, Isn't Anymore

    He had the resume — swing-state governor, veteran, ex-party leader — but there's a good chance you had no idea he was running. Judging by vote totals, Iowa and New Hampshire may have missed it too.
    NPR

    Colonialism Comment Puts Facebook Under Scrutiny

    A Facebook board member lambasted a decision by regulators in India, the social network's second-largest market. He thereby sparked new scrutiny of Facebook's intentions in that country.

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