Never mind that at least 11 similar mortgage fraud investigations are still open. Though the $16.65 billion fine being paid by Bank of America includes only $9.65 billion in cash, it will undoubtedly be the largest. So why should West, the Associate Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) third-ranking official, bother finishing the job in relative obscurity when a private sector payday awaits?
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West will step down effective Sept. 15, according to a statement posted Wednesday on the DOJ website.
The investigations will continue. Though led by the DOJ, they are being brought by a large group of state and federal officials known as the Residential Mortgage Backed Securities (RMBS) Working Group. One member of the group is California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who happens to be West's sister-in-law.
West is "one of the co-chairs but there are four others. It's not going to slow things down at all," said one RMBS Working Group attorney. This attorney learned of West's decision through news reports, as did at least one state attorney general in the group, according to a separate source close to that state AG.