Florida Attorney General Announces $21 Million Ameriquest Settlement For Florida Consumers

LAWFUEL – Legal Announcement Service –
~ Mortgage company settlement addressed inflated loan appraisals,
misrepresentation of home loan terms ~

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum and Office of Financial Regulation Commissioner Don Saxon today announced that restitution checks from Ameriquest Mortgage Company and its related companies have been mailed to more than 27,000 Florida consumers. The California-based company signed a settlement with 49 states and the District of Columbia, agreeing to provide $295 million in consumer restitution and to make sweeping reforms of practices that the states alleged amounted to predatory lending. Checks began going out today and will all be mailed by the end of the day tomorrow. They will be accompanied by a letter from the Attorney General’s Office and the Office of Financial Regulation.

“My office will continue to work to eliminate predatory lending practices, particularly those which target Floridians trying to purchase a home or pay off their debts,” said Attorney General McCollum.

Claims forms were mailed to each eligible consumer in July indicating the minimum payment the consumers could expect to receive. More than 60 percent of the affected consumers responded to the claims form and more than 27,000 Floridians will each receive approximately $780 each. Under the settlement, consumers who opted to receive the restitution payments relinquished their right to file lawsuits related to the loans covered by the settlement. However, consumers who participated in the settlement did not give up any claim they may otherwise raise if their home goes into foreclosure.

“We will continue to aggressively investigate and demand compensation from individuals and companies that prey on unsuspecting consumers,” said Commissioner Don Saxon.

The 2006 settlement resolved allegations that Ameriquest and its affiliates misrepresented or did not adequately disclose the terms of home loans, such as whether a loan carried a fixed or an adjustable rate; charged excessive loan origination fees and prepayment penalties; refinanced borrowers into improper or inappropriate loans; or improperly inflated appraisals used to qualify borrowers for loans. The settlement included Ameriquest’s parent company, ACC Capital Holding Corporation, along with subsidiaries Town & Country Credit Corporation and AMC Mortgage Services, Inc., formerly known as Bedford Home Loans.

Detailed information about the settlement and eligibility for restitution is available on the Settlement Administrator’s web site at http://www.ameriquestmultistatesettlement.com or can be obtained by contacting the settlement administrator at 1-800-420-5875. An example of the settlement checks can be viewed online at:
http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/KGRG-79TUA7/$file/AmeriquestSampleCheck.pdf.

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