NEW YORK — New York’s attorney general has launched an investigation into eight banks to determine whether they misled ratings agencies about mortgage securities, according to a person familiar with the inquiry.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is trying to figure out if banks provided the agencies with false information in order to get better ratings on the risky securities, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the investigation has not been made public.

Cuomo’s office is investigating Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, UBS AG, Citigroup Inc., Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Credit Agricole and Merrill Lynch, which is now part of Bank of America Corp.

A spokesman from Bank of America, which is based in Charlotte, N.C., said it is cooperating with the attorney general’s office.

Representatives from the banks declined to comment or were not available.

During the housing boom, Wall Street banks often packaged pools of risky subprime mortgages together. The securities were then typically given top-notch ratings and investors purchased them, in part, because of their high ratings.

The ratings, issued by Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings, are used as a guide for investors to assess how risky an investment might be.