(ALBUQUERQUE)—Attorney General Gary King today announced a settlement with Green Tree Servicing, a major lender and servicer of consumer loans, resolving claims that Green Tree abused the probate process to fast-track foreclosures against the estates and families of deceased homeowners in New Mexico.

AG King alleges that in at least twenty-five (25) cases in New Mexico, Green Tree became the personal representative of a deceased homeowner’s estate in order to quickly complete a foreclosure against the home of the deceased consumer.  As part of the settlement, Green Tree agreed to never again be appointed as the personal representative of a homeowner’s estate in New Mexico.  The AG alleges that Green Tree would file documents in court stating that it was unaware of any heirs with legal priority over Green Tree when, in some cases, Green Tree clearly knew that a surviving spouse or children existed and could be located.  The Attorney General’s Complaint asserts that such false statements to the court were misrepresentations in the collection of a debt in violation of the Unfair Practices Act.  As a result of the unlawful acts, AG King alleges that Green Tree would complete the foreclosure without giving the lawful heirs an opportunity to save the home or to defend the foreclosure case.  Green Tree would then sell the home and pay itself the proceeds.

Green Tree agreed to pay $140,000.00 to the Attorney General to resolve the claims. The funds will be used for consumer protection enforcement and education. The parties agreed to the settlement terms in a Consent Decree that must be approved by the Court.

Green Tree denies that it engaged in unlawful conduct.  The claims settled by the proposed Consent Decree are allegations only, and liability was not determined in a trial.

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