"This is a workable template for future actions against issuers of residential mortgage-backed securities that defrauded investors and cost millions of Americans their homes," Schneiderman said in a statement. "We need real accountability for the illegal and deceptive conduct in the creation of the housing bubble in order to bring justice for New York's homeowners and investors."
New York hasn't fully identified the losses in the JPMorgan case, Schneiderman said at a teleconference Tuesday.
Schneiderman is the cochairman of a state-federal group formed to investigate misconduct in the bundling of mortgage loans into securities leading up to the financial crisis. The group includes officials from the U.S. Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the FBI and other federal and state officials.
"Defendants systematically failed to fully evaluate the loans, largely ignored the defects that their limited review did uncover, and kept investors in the dark about both the inadequacy of their review procedures and the defects in the underlying loans," Schneiderman's office said.
Joe Evangelisti, a JPMorgan spokesman, said the bank would contest the complaint, which is "entirely about" conduct by Bear Stearns. JPMorgan acquired Bear Stearns in March 2008 after a run on what was then Wall Street's fifth-largest securities firm.
"We're disappointed that the NYAG decided to pursue its civil action without ever offering us an opportunity to rebut the claims and without developing a full record - instead relying on recycled claims already made by private plaintiffs," Evangelisti said in an e-mail.
JPMorgan may pay as much as $3 billion if it seeks to settle Schneiderman's claims, estimated Charles Peabody, a bank analyst at Portales Partners.