HONOLULU — The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) announced today that 2,264 Hawaii consumers are eligible for $ 1.6 million 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 settlement resolves allegations that Ameriquest and its affiliates, among other things, 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.

The department began sending letters and claim forms to eligible Hawaii consumers during the week of July 9, 2007. To participate in the settlement and receive restitution, consumers must mail completed and signed forms to the Ameriquest Settlement Administrator, P.O. Box 1855, Faribault, MN 55021-7110, by September 10, 2007.

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Hawaii Reporter is an award-winning, independent Hawaii-based news and opinion journal founded in 2001 and launched in February 2002. The journal's staff have won a number of top awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including the top investigative news reporting awards, business reporting awards, government reporting awards, and online news reporting awards.