The Department of Justice announced that a civil complaint has been filed against UBS and several of its U.S. affiliates, alleging that UBS defrauded investors throughout the United States and the world in connection with its sale of residential mortgage-backed securities from 2006 through 2007. The complaint was filed on Nov. 8 in federal court for the Eastern District of New York.

The complaint alleges that UBS’ actions violated the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), based on mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, and other misconduct. FIRREA authorizes the attorney general to seek civil penalties up to the amount of the gain derived from the violation or the losses suffered by persons other than the violator resulting from the violation.

According to the complaint: From 2006 through 2007, UBS misled investors about the quality of billions of dollars in sub-prime and Alt-A mortgage loans backing 40 RMBS deals. Specifically, in publicly filed offering documents, UBS knowingly misrepresented key characteristics of the loans, thereby concealing the fact that the loans were much riskier and much more likely to default than UBS represented. Ultimately, the 40 RMBS sustained catastrophic losses.