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Attorney General’s Office Obtains Over $100,000 for South Dakota Consumers in Ameriquest Settlement

Attorney General’s Office Obtains Over $100,000 for South Dakota Consumers in Ameriquest Settlement

PIERRE, S.D. - Attorney General Larry Long said today that 437 South Dakota consumers are eligible for $108,570 in restitution from Ameriquest Mortgage Company and its related companies as part of a $325 million national settlement of a predatory lending lawsuit against the company.

The Attorney General’s Office and South Dakota Division of Banking began sending letters and claim forms to eligible South Dakota consumers earlier this week. 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 mailed to each consumer will indicate the minimum payment the consumer can expect to receive. However, the exact amount could be larger, depending on how many eligible South Dakota consumers decide to participate in the settlement.

Consumers are encouraged to study the claim forms and information and reply as soon as possible. A pamphlet of "Frequently Asked Questions" was mailed with the claim for and provided additional information about the restitution process for eligible consumers.

Consumers who opt to receive the restitution payments relinquish their right to file lawsuits against Ameriquest related to the loans covered by the settlement. Therefore, consumers are encouraged to consult with a private attorney or, if they qualify, a legal services attorney 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.

Over 481,000 borrowers who were customers of Ameriquest Mortgage Company, Town and Country Credit Corporation, and AMC Mortgage Services, Inc. (formerly known as Bedford Home Loans) between January 1, 1999, and December 31, 2005, are eligible to receive the restitution payments.

Consumers can also obtain detailed information about the settlement by going to the Settlement Administrator’s web site at www.ameriquestmultistatesettlement.com. Consumers also may contact the Settlement Administrator at 800 420 5875. (Hearing-impaired persons may call 866 494 8274.)

The settlement resolves allegations by the Attorneys General and banking and finance regulators of 49 states and the District of Columbia that Ameriquest and its affiliates misrepresented and 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; and improperly inflated appraisals used to qualify borrowers for loans.