Wells Fargo is among firms facing federal scrutiny of mortgage-bond sales under a 1989 law the government is using to extend probes of banks’ roles in the credit crisis, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

U.S. attorneys in San Francisco have been examining Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, for more than a year, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the inquiry isn’t public. Authorities are investigating whether the firm violated the Financial Institution Reform and Recovery Act. The law, known as FIRREA, carries a 10-year statute of limitations and allows the government to sue for fraud affecting a federally insured financial institution.

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