The Justice Department began sending letters Monday to servicemembers who are entitled to $20 million in damages from Bank of America Corp. for alleged violations of the Servicemember Civil Relief Act.

As reported by National Mortgage News last week, BofA has agreed to pay a minimum of $116,785 plus compensation for any equity lost to each servicemember whose home was unlawfully foreclosed on by its subsidiary, BAC Home Loans Servicing, formerly Countrywide Home Loans Servicing.

"The men and women serving our nation should not have to worry about a bank foreclosing on their home while they bravely serve our country," Thomas E. Perez, the assistant attorney general for the civil rights division, said in a press release. "The Justice Department will vigorously enforce the laws that protect servicemembers while they do the difficult and necessary work of protecting our country."

The damages total $20 million, and will be available to 157 members of the military who were foreclosed on between 2006 and the middle of 2009. The Justice Department first announced the settlement — the largest ever under the Servicemember Civil Relief Act — on May 26.

Under the agreement, the bank also provided information about its foreclosures from mid-2009 to 2010, and will pay the damages in the same minimum amount for unlawful foreclosures during that time. The review is ongoing.

The Justice Department has until the end of November to determine the amount of damages to which each servicemember is entitled.

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