Over 6,900 Wisconsin homeowners are entitled to $3.2 million in restitution from Ameriquest Mortgage Co. for alleged overcharging, according to the state attorney general. The settlement is part of Ameriquest’s $325 million refund to over 481,000 customers in 49 different states.
Last year state officials estimated 1,170 Wisconsin families were scammed by the company. Ameriquest has admitted no guilt, but agreed to the payout. The higher number means an increase in payout.
That is an average of $463 for every wronged borrower here, but Kevin St. John, Wisconsin’s special assistant attorney general, said that payouts will vary based on how much a borrower got cheated. Ameriquest officials issued a late-day statement calling the pending payout “an important final step in Ameriquest’s January 2006 agreement with the states.”
The states’ charges against Ameriquest and its sister firms, Town and Country Credit Corp. and AMC Mortgage Services, all part of ACC Capital Holdings Corp., include misrepresenting loan terms, including whether the interest rate was fixed or adjustable; charging excessive loan origination fees and prepayment penalties; refinancing customers into inappropriate loans; and inflating property values to justify loan size.
The settlement resolves allegations by officials in 49 states excluding Virginia, where Ameriquest did not operate.
It covers loans issued from 1999 through 2005 and requires the affected homeowners to send completed signed settlement consent by September 10th. Later this month a settlement administrator will reveal the minimum sum that Ameriquest owes each borrower.
Consumers are urged to get legal advice prior to accepting or refusing the settlement. Accepting restitution voids consumer rights to privately sue Ameriquest.