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      Banks cheated veterans with fees, lawsuit claims

      Wells Fargo is one of the banks named in the lawsuit.

      ATLANTA (AP) - A newly unsealed whistleblower lawsuit from 2006 claims several major banks and mortgage companies bilked military veterans and taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars.

      The lawsuit filed that year was unsealed Tuesday in federal court in Atlanta. It claims the firms engaged in a "brazen scheme" involving home loans guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

      It says the firms charge attorneys' fees or closing costs with the transactions despite Veterans Administration rules banning that practice. It says the firms "over-charged veterans, charged unallowable fees, and then deliberately concealed those facts."

      The lawsuit targets several firms, including Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America. It seeks to recover damages on behalf of the government.

      The banks have denied the charges in related court documents.