In granting approval to H&R Block to open a savings and loan, the Office of Thrift Supervision did not check with the New York State attorney general about a pending fraud probe of the tax giant, an agency spokesman has told MortgageWire."We had communication with H&R Block, but not the attorney general," OTS spokesman Chris Smith said. "The company told us there was an investigation going on." The investigation by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer led the state to slap H&R Block with a $250 million civil fraud suit for misleading customers about individual retirement accounts. On March 15, the OTS granted H&R Block final approval to open a thrift, the same day news broke that New York state was suing the company. H&R Block, which also owns nonprime giant Option One Mortgage, has denied the allegations. (See the March 20 issue of National Mortgage News for more details.)

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