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Site Posts News on Ameriquest Probe

Refunds are available in the wake of the firm's settlement of lending abuse allegations.

October 10, 2006|E. Scott Reckard | Times Staff Writer

Consumers who took out home loans from Ameriquest Mortgage Co. or two of its affiliates from 1999 through 2005 can find information about refunds at a new Internet site.

The site, www.ameriquestmultistatesettlement.com, provides details about Ameriquest's January settlement of lending abuse allegations with 49 states.

The parent of the Orange-based lender, ACC Capital Holdings Corp., agreed to pay $325 million to settle investigations into Ameriquest and the affiliates, Town & Country Credit Corp. and AMC Mortgage Services Inc. (formerly Bedford Home Loans). Eligible borrowers will share $295 million of the settlement.

The "vast majority" of loans funded between Jan. 1, 1999, and April 1, 2003, will be eligible for restitution, according to the site, which was announced recently by attorneys general in several states. Additional refunds may be paid on certain loans made as late as Dec. 31, 2005.

A series of articles in The Times last year examined Ameriquest's practices, including allegations that loan officers often misled borrowers about high-cost terms and falsified documents to sell refinancing deals.

Borrowers eligible for refunds will be sent claim forms in early 2007. Borrowers who agree to the restitution provided by the 49-state settlement must sign away their rights to sue the company for most wrongs.

The website advises borrowers to consult a lawyer before deciding whether to take the restitution or join private litigation against Ameriquest. A toll-free question line also has been set up at (800) 420-5875.

scott.reckard@latimes.com

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