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Settlement Creates Two Restitution Funds

January 24, 2006|From a Times Staff Writer

Monday's settlement creates two primary restitution funds for customers of Ameriquest Mortgage Co. and its sister companies, Town & Country Credit Corp. and AMC Mortgage Services (AMC formerly was known as Bedford Home Loans):

* A $175-million pool for borrowers who received loans from Jan. 1, 1999 to April 1, 2003 -- a total of about 240,000 mortgages. A national administrator will distribute these funds, with each eligible borrower to receive at least $600. Most borrowers will be eligible.

* A $120-million pool for borrowers who obtained their loans from Jan. 1, 1999 to Dec. 31, 2005 -- a total of 485,000 mortgages. Each state will create its own formulas to distribute these funds.

A better software system, in use after April 1, 2003, stopped loan agents from increasing their commissions by sticking borrowers with higher interest rates and fees, which accounts for the smaller restitution pool for the second period.

In addition, the states participating in the settlement will get $30 million to cover their costs and may use some of their money to provide additional restitution.

Customers of Ameriquest and its affiliates will be contacted by the national administrator and the states in the months ahead about their eligibility for refunds.

For more information, California residents may contact the state attorney general's office online at caag.state.ca.us and click on the Contact Us box, or call (800) 952-5225.

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