More than two thousand Utahns will be receive money from a $325 million national settlement involving alleged unlawful lending practices by Ameriquest Mortgage Company. The Utah Attorney General’s Office began sending letters and claim forms to 2,635 eligible Utah consumers who will share approximately $1.9 million in restitution.
“Unlawful lending practices rob equity from families and destabilize neighborhoods,” says Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. “This settlement helps many families and sends a strong message to all lenders to treat their customers fairly.”
Assistant Attorneys General Blaine Ferguson and Perri Babalis represented Utah in settlement negotiations. The allegations against Ameriquest and its affiliates include: misrepresenting or failing to disclose the terms of home loans, such as whether a loan carried a fixed or an adjustable rate; and improperly inflating appraisals used to qualify borrowers for loans.
To participate in the settlement and receive restitution, consumers must mail completed and signed forms to the settlement administrator by September 10, 2007. The forms will indicate the minimum payment the consumer can expect to receive. However, the exact amount could be larger, depending on how many eligible Utah consumers decide to participate in the settlement.
Consumers who opt to receive the restitution payments relinquish their right to file lawsuits against Ameriquest over the loans covered by the settlement. Consumers may want to consult with a private attorney, or a legal services attorney if they qualify, before deciding whether to participate in the settlement. However, consumers who participate in the settlement do not give up any claim they may otherwise raise if their home goes into foreclosure.
Restitution payments are available to more than 481,000 customers of Ameriquest Mortgage Company, Town and Country Credit Corporation, and AMC Mortgage Services, Inc. (formerly known as Bedford Home Loans) who took out loans between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 2005.
Consumers can also obtain detailed information about the settlement and their eligibility for restitution by going to the settlement administrator’s web site: www.ameriquestmultistatesettlement.com. The settlement administrator can also be reached by phone at 800-420-5875. (Hearing-impaired persons may call 866-494-8274.)