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by CareyBot

Ameriquest Mortgage Co. has finalized a $325 million settlement of allegations that it deceived borrowers, falsified loan documents and pressured appraisers to overstate home values, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday. A task force of 49 states and the District of Columbia plans to announce today that the Orange County-based company and two affiliates -- all specialists in higher-cost mortgages to borrowers unable to qualify for bank loans -- agreed to overhaul their lending practices, the Times reported. Industry experts told the Times the deal could in effect force rival lenders in the higher-cost loan market to adopt similar standards to avoid legal challenges from both regulators and consumers. These loans have been the fastest-growing segment of the mortgage market and now acco...