August 13, 2015 / 6:25 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Goldman to pay $272 million to settle mortgage lawsuit

(Adds details of allegations, background, similar JPMorgan settlement, case citation)

By Jonathan Stempel and Nate Raymond

NEW YORK, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc will pay $272 million to settle a lawsuit that claimed the Wall Street bank defrauded investors about the safety of about $6 billion of residential mortgage-backed securities they bought in 2007 and 2008.

The settlement with investors led by the NECA-IBEW Health & Welfare Fund, an electrical workers’ pension fund in Decatur, Illinois, was disclosed in filings with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Thursday.

NECA-IBEW accused Goldman of misleading investors about the underwriting of home loans backing the securities, including the quality of appraisals and whether borrowers were capable of repaying their loans.

The fund said the securities’ prices collapsed during and after the financial crisis, while their credit ratings fell to low, “triple-C” junk grades from “triple-A.”

Goldman denied liability in agreeing to settle, court papers show. A representative was not immediately available to comment.

The settlement requires approval by U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum in Manhattan.

Thursday’s accord may be among the last large settlements of investor class actions seeking to hold banks responsible for selling shoddy mortgage securities prior to the 2008 financial crisis.

Last month, JPMorgan Chase & Co agreed to pay $388 million to settle a similar case. A federal judge granted preliminary approval on Aug. 4.

Goldman last week boosted its estimate for possible legal costs in excess of reserves to $5.9 billion from $3.8 billion three months earlier.

The bank is among those targeted by a federal-state working group probing misconduct in the sale of mortgage-backed securities prior to the financial crisis.

Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd represented investors in the Goldman and JPMorgan cases. It plans to seek as much as 21 percent of the Goldman settlement fund, which includes interest, as legal fees in that case, court papers show.

The case is NECA-IBEW Health & Welfare Fund v. Goldman Sachs & Co et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 08-10783. (Additional reporting by Karen Freifeld in New York; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Matthew Lewis)

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