The U.S. Department of Justice said SunTrust Bank agreed to pay up to $320 million to settle a federal criminal investigation into mishandled applicants for mortgage modifications. SunTrust was accused of fraudulent representations and omissions to homeowners, as well as delayed processing of applications. By agreeing to the fine, the mortgage underwriter avoids prosecution and paying up to $274 million in customer claims related to the federal Home Affordable Modification Program. SunTrust also gets out of entering a guilty plea. Attorney General Eric Holder said, "SunTrust's conduct is a prime example of the widespread underwriting failure. Instead of helping distressed homeowners, SunTrust's mismanagement drove up foreclosures." SunTrust Mortgage CEO Jerome Lienhard said the mortgage originator recognizes there were deficiencies in the administration but is focused on the future. In addition to the criminal investigation settlement, SunTrust is required to pay $20 million to support housing counseling for homeowners.