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Attorney General Corbett announces distribution of nearly $11 million to PA consumers in national Ameriquest predatory lending investigation

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HARRISBURG – December 14, 2007 – Nearly $11 million in consumer restitution is being sent to more than 12,000 Pennsylvania residents as the result of a multi-state settlement with Ameriquest Mortgage Company, resolving allegations that the company engaged in predatory lending practices across the country.

Attorney General Tom Corbett said that restitution checks are being mailed directly to 12,401 Pennsylvania consumers who filed claims under the terms of the national settlement.  The restitution checks range in size from $91 to $5,117, with an average payment of $867.  Overall, a total of $10,762,474 is being paid to Pennsylvania borrowers. 

Corbett said that consumers should receive their restitution payments within the next week.

“Many of the consumers involved in this case had modest incomes or poor credit, and were forced to pay higher interest rates and larger monthly payments than they had initially been led to believe,” Corbett said.  “I am pleased that thousands of Pennsylvania residents who were victimized in this case, along with consumers all across the country, are finally receiving some restitution.”

Corbett explained that the national consumer protection investigation involved borrowers who obtained home loans or debt consolidation loans from Ameriquest, along with several subsidiary companies, including Town & Country Credit Corporation and AMC Mortgage Services.  Ameriquest employees allegedly deceived consumers and used high-pressure sales tactics to boost their monthly commissions and sales quotes. 

The $325 million national settlement involves more that 312,000 borrowers throughout the United States who obtained loans from Ameriquest between January 1999 and December 2005.

Corbett said all of the Pennsylvania consumers who were eligible for awards as part of this national settlement received claim forms and instructions in July 2007. 

Consumers who filed claims, but who do not receive their restitution checks within the next 10 days, should call the national Settlement Administrator at 1-800-420-5875. 

Additional information about the settlement is available on the Settlement Administrator’s website: http://www.ameriquestmultistatesettlement.com/

The Pennsylvania complaint and consent decree was filed in Commonwealth Court.  The agreement was negotiated by the Office of Attorney General and the Pennsylvania Department of Banking.

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