BATON ROUGE, La. - Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell's office says the state has joined a nationwide investigation into allegations that several mortgage companies illegally foreclosed on hundreds of thousands of homeowners.

Regulators and attorneys general from all 50 states will examine whether employees at three of the largest mortgage companies - Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and GMAC - made false statements or prepared foreclosure documents improperly.

'This issue affects peoples' homes as well as the economy,' said Attorney General Buddy Caldwell. 'This probe will be thorough, expeditious, and fair to both homeowners and lenders.'

The Obama administration supports the probe and federal and state officials are already looking into of a potential settlement with the banks.

The group's initial objectives include: Put an immediate stop to improper mortgage foreclosure practices, review past and present practices by mortgage servicers subject to the inquiry, evaluate potential remedies for past practices and to deter future improper practices and establish a mechanism for more effective independent monitoring of future mortgage foreclosure practices.

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