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Ameriquest Mortgage Co., at one time the largest home mortgage lender catering to people with credit problems, paid New Yorkers $18 million as part of a previous nationwide predatory lending settlement.

Checks were sent to approximately 13, 700 New Yorkers, according to a joint statement released on Monday, by Governor Eliot Spitzer and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

“Through their aggressive use of deceptive and predatory lending practices, Ameriquest both exploited borrowers and contributed to today’s staggering crisis in the mortgage industry,” Cuomo said in the statement.

“These funds will help undo the damage that Ameriquest caused to thousands of New Yorkers.”

In January 2006, Ameriquest Mortgage agreed to pay $325 million to settle claims that they cheated customers by inflating appraisals and misrepresenting loan terms.

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