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U.S. files new lawsuit against Countrywide

NEW YORK, March 4 (Reuters) - The United States Trustee has filed a new lawsuit against Countrywide Financial Corp's CFC.N main lending unit, accusing the largest U.S. mortgage lender of abusing the bankruptcy process, court records show.

In a complaint filed Saturday with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Miami, U.S. Trustee Donald Walton accused Countrywide Home Loans Inc of wrongly asserting claims related to the property of two Miami borrowers, Jose and Fanny Sanchez, who reorganized their finances in bankruptcy.

The trustee said that, after a judge ruled Countrywide did not have a valid lien, the lender nonetheless pursued claims for nearly four years, including an attempt to foreclose, causing unnecessary delay and expense. Countrywide voluntarily dismissed its foreclosure complaint in October, the trustee said.

“Countrywide’s failure to ensure the accuracy of its claims and pleadings has resulted in an abuse of the bankruptcy process and has prejudiced and will continue to prejudice, parties in interest in the bankruptcy cases in which Countrywide participates,” Walton said.

Walton is seeking monetary sanctions and an order preventing Countrywide from further abuse in bankruptcy cases. The U.S. Department of Justice appoints a trustee to oversee bankruptcy proceedings.

Countrywide did not immediately return a phone call and e-mails seeking comment, but has said it does not discuss pending litigation. The Calabasas, California-based company agreed in January to be acquired by Bank of America Corp BAC.N, the second-largest U.S. bank, for about $4 billion.

Last week, Walton filed a separate lawsuit in the U.S. bankruptcy court for the Northern District of Georgia also alleging abuse of the bankruptcy process. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Andre Grenon)

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