August 8, 2013 / 7:12 PM / 6 years ago

EXCLUSIVE-U.S. steps up probe of JPMorgan over Bear MBS -sources

Aug 8 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Justice has stepped up a probe in recent weeks into Bear Stearns & Co’s mortgage dealings in the run-up to the financial crisis, according to two sources familiar with the situation, raising the possibility that JPMorgan Chase & Co may face yet another case over mortgage bonds.

Justice Department lawyers in Washington have been interviewing people linked to Bear Stearns’ mortgage securitization business, EMC Mortgage Corp, over sales of mortgage bonds going into the housing crisis, the sources said.

JPMorgan bought Bear Stearns during the financial crisis in 2008.

The probe, which Reuters first reported in February, has picked up steam in recent weeks and comes in addition to civil and criminal investigations of the bank by U.S. prosecutors in California over its offerings of mortgage bonds.

A spokeswoman for the Justice Department declined to comment. A JPMorgan spokesman declined to comment. (Reporting by Emily Flitter and Karen Freifeld in New York; Additional reporting by David Henry; Editing by Gary Hill)

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