Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) Vice President Kurt Lofrano should be added as a defendant to a lawsuit over allegedly fraudulent mortgages, the U.S. said in a filing in Manhattan federal court.

Attorneys for the U.S. today asked a judge to let it amend its complaint to add Lofrano to the fraud suit it filed against Wells Fargo last year.

The government claims Wells Fargo was reckless in underwriting mortgage loans it falsely certified as eligible for Federal Housing Administration insurance. Wells Fargo then failed to tell the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as required, about thousands of loans that were ineligible due to violations of HUD requirements and fraud.

Lofrano, who was a Wells Fargo vice president in charge of quality control, "played a critical role in the bank's decision not to report to HUD, as required, more than six thousand materially defective loans that Wells Fargo had falsely certified to HUD for FHA insurance," the government said in the filing.

"Wells Fargo is very disappointed that the government is seeking to add Mr. Lofrano as a defendant in this civil case, Ancel Martinez, a spokesman for the San Francisco-based bank, said in an e-mail today. "Wells Fargo has not been presented with any facts or circumstances warranting this action nor has the government explained why it is even remotely appropriate to include Mr. Lofrano more than a year after first filing suit."

Martinez said Lofrano is a "well-respected team member" and that Wells Fargo stands by him "unequivocally." He said the bank has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.

The case is U.S. v. Wells Fargo, 12-cv-07527, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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