Ohio AG settles predatory lending lawsuit

Legal News Line Sep. 27, 2008, 11:30am

Nancy Hardin Rogers (D)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline)-A mortgage company has agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a predatory lending practices lawsuit filed by the Ohio attorney general's office. The lawsuit against Ace Mortgage Funding, LLC, alleged that the Indianapolis-based firm violated Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act by exerting undue influence on real estate appraisers. By settling the lawsuit with Ohio Attorney General Nancy Hardin Rogers, Ace Mortgage did not admit to any wrongdoing. The company was accused of using pre-printed appraisal request forms and inserting "Estimated Value" and "Loan Amount" in an attempt to influence the outcome of the appraisal with the values they inserted. As a part of the settlement, Ace Mortgage has agreed not to use those terms when requesting an appraisal of a residential property. The company also promised not to commit any unfair or deceptive acts or practices, including attempting to influence the judgment of an independent appraiser through intimidation, compensation or direct instruction. The company's fine included a payment of $25,000 to the Consumer Protection Enforcement Fund. The purpose of the fund is to promote financial literacy among Ohioans, a stated mission of the attorney general's office. Ace Mortgage Funding also paid $5,000 to compensate the attorney general's office for their expenses in prosecuting the action. Should the company fail to fulfill the conditions of the settlement agreement, they must pay an additional $25,000 to the state's Consumer Protection Enforcement Fund. The lawsuit was initiated in 2007 by then-Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann, who resigned in May amid criticism and office sexual harassment scandals.

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