DENVER (Legal Newsline) - Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced on Tuesday that he has reached a settlement with a lending company and two of its employees over allegations that they engaged in deceptive trade practices.

Independence Planning, doing business as Alternative Lending of Colorado, managing general partner James W. Dale III and top loan originator April A. Bigler have been ordered to pay more than $78,000 in fines and restitution.

"Irresponsible and deceptive lending practices certainly contributed to the foreclosure crisis Colorado and other states have faced over the past several years," Suthers said.

"This settlement and its terms should serve as a warning to mortgage originators that place their bottom line ahead of their responsibilities under Colorado law."

According to the settlement, Bigler and Dale must voluntarily surrender their mortgage loan originator licenses and notify the Attorney General's Office if they intend to work in a mortgage-related business again.

Bigler must pay $33,770 in restitution and $14,000 in civil penalties. Almost $37,000 of that can be suspended if she complies with all terms of the settlement.

Dale and Independence Planning will be assessed $16,885 in restitution and $14,000 in civil penalties. Approximately $23,000 of that amount can be suspended if they comply with the settlement terms.

The settlement follows a complaint against the company and the employees that was filed in October. Bigler was charged with misrepresenting interest rates for loans, quoting monthly mortgage payments without including all costs and delaying closings to pressure consumers into signing a mortgage.

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