More than 2,000 in Miss. can get refund in predatory lending suit

Published 4:29 pm Thursday, July 19, 2007

State Attorney General Jim Hood said Wednesday that 2,209 Mississippians are eligible to receive refunds through the national settlement of a predatory lending lawsuit against Ameriquest Mortgage Co. and its related companies.

Letters were sent last week to those eligible. Hood said people have until Sept. 10 to respond so they can claim part of the money.

The national settlement was $325 million. About $859,000 of that is going to Mississippians.

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Hood said the payments to individual consumers here will range from at least $80 to $1,806. He said the payments could be higher, depending on how many consumers respond.

Refunds are available to people who, from 1999 through 2005, were customers of Ameriquest Mortgage Company, Town and Country Credit Corporation and AMC Mortgage Services. AMC previously was known as Bedford Home Loans.

The settlement resolves allegations by attorneys general in 49 states that the companies did not adequately disclose the terms of home loans, among other things.

Hood said the companies would misrepresent consumers’ incomes to get them loans for which the consumers were not qualified. He said many mortgage holders didn’t understand they were being mistreated.

“People just wanted a home to live in,” Hood said. “That’s the American dream.”

He said payments to consumers are expected to be made this fall.

Hood said the state of Mississippi also is receiving $125,000 for attorneys’ fees in the case. He said the money will be divided between his office and the Department of Banking and Consumer Finance, which also worked on the case.

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