According to the office of Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna, 8,750 Washington residents will receive checks this month totaling nearly $9.9 million as part of a national settlement with former subprime lending firm Ameriquest.
The Ameriquest settlement ranks as the second-largest government consumer protection settlement in history. The payments are in response to allegations that Ameriquest deceived consumers, inflated home appraisals, and fabricated employment and income information in order to make the largest possible profit.
Consumers were thus tied into loan balances significantly higher than the true value of their homes, which ultimately blocked them from refinancing with other lenders or selling without taking a substantial loss, the attorney general's office explains. The payments are higher in Washington because the state received more money for legal costs as a result of its leadership role in the investigation and settlement negotiations.