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Business Observer Monday, Jul. 8, 2019 1 week ago

Court sides with prominent businessman in mortgage fee lawsuit

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A company run by Bill Edwards faced claims that it overcharged borrowers.

ST. PETERSBURG — Mortgage Investors Corp., a company chaired by St. Petersburg businessman Bill Edwards, the former owner of the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer club, has been exonerated in a long-running federal lawsuit that stemmed from its involvement in a loan-refinancing program for veterans.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Georgia ruled July 1 that the claims made in the lawsuit — Bibby v. Mortgage Investors Corp., first filed in 2006 — lacked merit.

MIC faced allegations, made by two mortgage brokers and the U.S. Department of Justice, that it violated the False Claims Act during its participation in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loan (IRRRL) program.

Under Edwards’ leadership, MIC originated hundreds of thousands of mortgage loans to veterans worth some $25 billion. The unfounded accusations, according to a statement, included charging borrowers illegal fees and then covering up the overcharges via falsified paperwork.

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