• Report: #146631

Complaint Review: Ameriquest Aka AMC

  • Submitted: Fri, June 17, 2005
  • Updated: Wed, March 26, 2008

  • Reported By:O'Brien Florida
Ameriquest Aka AMC
505 City Parkway West Suite 100 Orange Ca, 92868 505 City Parkway West Suite 100 Orange, California U.S.A.

Ameriquest Aka AMC Ameriquest Sucks! If you need some evidence please read this! I have Recordings From Florida ripoff Orange California

*Author of original report: 40 Boxes of Ameriquest borrowers private info found in a Dumpster.

*Consumer Comment: Welcome to my world

*Author of original report: Roland Arnall is DEAD at the age 68 from cancer. He Died on Monday March 17 2008.

*Author of original report: LOL You are right! I am filing a complaint with AG Andrew Cuomo office. They sent me a form to fill out.

*Consumer Comment: So what is your point, Markanna? That we have the best government that money can buy?

*Author of original report: Obama's taking money from Roland Arnall, Deval Patrick is also involved...... Roland Arnall: Rapist, Murderer, Ambassador

*Author of original report: Obama's taking money from Roland Arnall, Deval Patrick is also involved...... Roland Arnall: Rapist, Murderer, Ambassador

*Author of original report: Obama's taking money from Roland Arnall, Deval Patrick is also involved...... Roland Arnall: Rapist, Murderer, Ambassador

*Author of original report: Obama's taking money from Roland Arnall, Deval Patrick is also involved...... Roland Arnall: Rapist, Murderer, Ambassador

*Author of original report: Ameriquest attorneys Buchalter & Nemer, Withholding Evidence 7-24-2007

*Author of original report: Thanks

*Consumer Suggestion: Not sure if this helps, but it's an idea where to start

*Author of original report: I asked Roland Arnall for help, Him and Aseem Mital in 2005 in a letter.

*Author of original report: update

*Author of original report: Ameriquest Breached the Settlement Agreement.

*Consumer Suggestion: Well

*Consumer Suggestion: Well

*Consumer Suggestion: Well

*Consumer Suggestion: Markana

*Consumer Suggestion: Markana

*Consumer Suggestion: Markana

*Author of original report: Resolved

*Consumer Comment: Thanks for your support.

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: How does Mary Jo sleep at night?

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I have a lot of evidence, with Recordings, and forged documents, if any one needs some of mine have a lawyer contact me, from this web site.



I'm now in a 10 month struggle with ameriquest aka amc, and aka Argent, they never paid the homeowners insurance as promised during the closing August 1, 2004.

Then 3 Hurricanes Frances, Ivan, and Jean, hit doing damages, since then it's been a Nightmare!

I have a call log with names dates times and ex-numbers, teller numbers, from everyone I have talked to, and that I am still talking to, From ameriquest, HSBC, Mortgage information services & Safeco.

I also have Recordings, from the office of the president with Farrah M, 1-866-461-0913 of ameriquest, about Mary jo Shelton, and a settlement offer that was made.

Recording with HSBC's Brandon office in fl, about ameriquest buying back the loan that ameriquest sold to them, that now ameriquest is buying back, that I was told in a letter from HSBC, more than once, the last letter was faxed to me today June 17, 2005


Recording from; the title company. Mortgage information services, in Florida with a lawyer named Brian S,
this lawyer faxed me 2 unsigned HUDS he has in his file.

I have 2 unsigned HUDS from the title company and 1 other un-signed HUD, one from the signing and one that they faxed us after closing and asked us to sign, and fax back, they said they had lost the other one,
after comparing it with the one we had, we found out it had different pay outs and every thing was changed.

On the mortgage it has my ex-husband as the borrower and me as his wife, he is not on MY loan, the one I got from the court house has me and my co-signer on it with lots of xxxxxxxxxxx were it said my ex-husband was the borrower? It has different time stamps to.

Ameriquest sent me two escrow checks in April 2005, I have them non-cashed, one for 400.00 and one for 449.00 I was asked to send the second one back? I recorded that to, and she said the one for 400.00 was for insurance?

I have copies of every check that has been paid out from ameriquest, and over 100 pages of letter and faxes to and from ameriquest, HSBC, Safeco, and Mortgage Information services.

We are now renting at 450.00 per month and making mortgage payments now 507.00 per month, to HSBC for a house we cant live in, now with forced placed insurance added on. two elc, bill two phone bills.

My Mother and Disabled sister are suffering every day from mold allergies, because we could not afford to rent as soon as we needed to, we tried to clean the mold, I wish I knew the DANGERS of ''TOXIC MOLD" then, Her Doctor said she will suffer with this mold problem for the rest of her life.
THAT SUCKS!!

So far we have lost everything in our house and the house, and our health. whats next more Hurricanes?

It's really hard trying not to cry in front of my young son every day.

I can't take much more....

ameriquest will not answer any of my questions in writing, I wonder why?

Please Help us! We want to go home!

My dead line is July 23, 2005

Thank's From Florida, :o( USA?

Markanna
O'Brien, Florida
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/17/2005 09:42 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Ameriquest-Aka-AMC/505-City-Parkway-West-Suite-100-Orange-California-92868/Ameriquest-Aka-AMC-Ameriquest-Sucks-If-you-need-some-evidence-please-read-this-I-have-Re-146631. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Author of original report

40 Boxes of Ameriquest borrowers private info found in a Dumpster.

AUTHOR: Markanna - (U.S.A.)

I don't know how to get an email to you, I have video's on YouTube about ameriquest and Roland Arnall. There is a Youtube video that a lawyer named Hoyer did, He did a video regarding lost documents found in an dumpster and they had peoples private info and SS numbers that were found in the dumpster. 40 boxes of Borrowers private info. He has one called Ameriquest investigation.

There are a few of us fighting back from YouTube, If you Google Ameriquest Sucks, You might be able to find me or my email from there.

Best of Luck!
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#2 Consumer Comment

Welcome to my world

AUTHOR: Joseph - (U.S.A.)

Hello in Florida,

I to have a huge problem with AMC/Citi residential lending regarding foreclouser and an insurance claim.

I took care of the foreclouser by filling 4 lawsuits for impropper lending laws, my brother in law is a mortgage processor, and he gave me the statues to stop any and all foreclousers.

Here is the ironic part, I too have suffered sevear interior and exterior damage from rain, hail, and winds. You have been through a lot more than me, but all three checks bounced because AMC and CITI Residential Lending breached my Social Security Number and my other personl information to J.P. Morgan / Chase Bank, NA in Dallas Tx.

So the lumber company I was going to buy my supplys from denied all of the checks. Go figure.

So I had to contact the FBI Fruad div., irs, MN attorney generals office, the federal trades commission, and the Occ which is a branch of the government who is a watch dog for national banks.

I would like a any or all of your copies if I can, because I have several court dates closing in fast.

If you need any information, just write back.

Be Well,
Joseph Schmoller
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#3 Author of original report

Roland Arnall is DEAD at the age 68 from cancer. He Died on Monday March 17 2008.

AUTHOR: Markanna - (U.S.A.)

Not So Lucky Day for Arnall.
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#4 Author of original report

LOL You are right! I am filing a complaint with AG Andrew Cuomo office. They sent me a form to fill out.

AUTHOR: Markanna - (U.S.A.)

Wish us LUCK!

US, as in All of us here in the old usa...Thanks for taking the time to reply :)

ON the form is says I need to contact AMERIQUEST to let them know that I am filing against them.

Hey Ameriquest, I am filing a complaint against. FYI
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#5 Consumer Comment

So what is your point, Markanna? That we have the best government that money can buy?

AUTHOR: Thomas - (U.S.A.)

If you lay ALL of our professional politicians in a line, head to toe, you will never reach the truth....

Now the subprime mortgage industry is in a meltdown because of spiraling greed and the incessent drive of business for ever-increasing profits so that management keeps their jobs....Gee, what a big unforseen surprise.

The US credit/money system is at risk of locking up as politicians now conceed that a "Recession" [the ''R'' word] might loom.... while politicians push their dippy 'tax rebate' schemes. Thanks to the wise policies of GWB the US Government is awash in red ink ALREADY, rather than having a surplus, so the old tried-and-true 'deficit spending to revive a recession-bound economy' is not really available. Maybe it is actually the ''D'' word that might be looming? I think our politicians now have the same 'perpetual credit card balance to maintain a standard of living syndrome' as many working Americans. The Roman Circus has returned!

American companies continue to move high-paying jobs offshore to India & Poland now that many 'blue-collar' jobs have been moved to China or Mexico, and the 'early-adopters' have enjoyed some gains.... until these American companies realize that their customer base, the people in the USA who can afford to pay their high prices, is badly withered. Ironically, Japanese companies have been setting up shop in the USA and doing very well, and are even exporting the products they manufacture here. Makes you wonder, no?
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#6 Author of original report

Obama's taking money from Roland Arnall, Deval Patrick is also involved...... Roland Arnall: Rapist, Murderer, Ambassador

AUTHOR: Markanna - (U.S.A.)

Lender Lobbying Blitz
Abetted Mortgage Mess Ameriquest Pressed For Changes in Laws;
A Battle in New Jersey

By GLENN R. SIMPSON
December 31, 2007; Page A1

During the housing boom, the subprime industry succeeded at more than just writing mortgages. It also shot down efforts by some states to curtail risky lending to borrowers with spotty credit.

Ameriquest Mortgage Co., until recently one of the nation's largest subprime lenders, was at the center of those battles. Working with a husband-and-wife team of Washington lobbyists, it handed out more than $20 million in political donations and played a big role in persuading legislators in New Jersey and Georgia to relax tough new laws. Those victories, in turn, helped blunt efforts by other states to crack down on reckless lending, critics of the industry contend.

THE SUBPRIME LOBBY


The Threat: Subprime lenders worried about a wave of restrictive new laws from state legislatures.
The Reaction: In New Jersey and Georgia, lenders lobbied and made political donations, helping to defeat legislation.
The Result: Changes that might have protected homeowners who are now in foreclosure were rolled back.Home loans made by Ameriquest and other subprime lenders are defaulting now in large numbers, roiling global credit markets and sparking debate about whether regulators and lawmakers should have anticipated the mess and taken action. A close look at Ameriquest's lobbying and political donations shows how the subprime industry maneuvered to defeat legislation that might have contained some of the damage.

Executives at Ameriquest, based in Orange, Calif., acknowledge that the company lobbied heavily against state lending restrictions, but say that other subprime lenders did so as well. In fact, a host of subprime lenders and banking trade groups, including Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., Countrywide Financial Corp. and the Mortgage Bankers Association, spent heavily on lobbying and political giving.

Ameriquest, a unit of ACC Capital Holdings, has stopped making new subprime loans, and it has sold some operations and is winding down others. It is now a defendant in hundreds of lawsuits alleging mortgage fraud.

Data from federal and state campaign-finance records, Internal Revenue Service filings, and the National Institute on Money in State Politics show that from 2002 through 2006, Ameriquest, its executives and their spouses and business associates donated at least $20.5 million to state and federal political groups. In comparison, over the same time period, Countrywide Financial, another large subprime lender, gave about $2 million in campaign gifts, and spent an additional $6.7 million lobbying in Washington, records indicate.


Some of the giving by Ameriquest executives and associates was high-profile. President Bush received more than $200,000 for his 2004 re-election campaign, and Ameriquest founder Roland Arnall and his wife, Dawn, contributed more than $5 million to political organizations that backed the president. Last year, President Bush appointed Mr. Arnall ambassador to the Netherlands, and his wife took over as chairman of Ameriquest's parent company. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaigns received at least $1.4 million, along with stacks of tickets to a Rolling Stones concert that were used to lure big donors. A spokesman for Gov. Schwarzenegger said his decisions are not influenced by campaign contributions. Mr. Arnall declined to comment. The White House said Mr. Arnall was nominated because of his qualifications.

Much of Ameriquest's efforts took place below the national radar, at the state level. State legislatures wanted to crack down on so-called predatory lending, which refers to the use of deceptive or unfair practices in the sale of high-interest loans, often to low-income borrowers who can't afford them. In New Jersey, for example, lawmakers passed a strong predatory-lending law in 2003 that made it difficult for Ameriquest to continue doing business there.


Washington lobbyist Wright Andrews and his wife, Lisa, coordinated much of the industry's lobbying. Mr. Andrews's firm, Butera & Andrews, collected at least $4 million in fees from the subprime industry from 2002 through 2006, congressional lobbying reports indicate. Mr. Andrews didn't represent Ameriquest directly. He ran three different subprime-industry trade groups: the National Home Equity Mortgage Association, of which Ameriquest was a member; the Coalition for Fair and Affordable Lending, which spent $6.3 million lobbying against state laws before it dissolved earlier this year, according to federal filings; and the Responsible Mortgage Lending Coalition.


In 2003, Lisa Andrews was appointed senior vice president for government affairs at Ameriquest. Her public-relations firm, Washington Communications Group Inc., claims credit on its Web site for coordinating the industry's victory in New Jersey, as well as its overall strategy at the state level. Ms. Andrews left Ameriquest in 2005 and returned to her firm..

Ameriquest was founded by Mr. Arnall in 1979 as Long Beach Savings & Loan. He later shed all of the thrift's operations except its retail-mortgage unit, which he renamed Ameriquest. During the refinancing boom of the 1990s, Ameriquest became a player in the business of lending to low-income homeowners. The company persuaded many homeowners to take cash out of their houses by refinancing them for larger amounts than their existing mortgages. Many of the new loans carried relatively high interest rates.

Settling Claims

Last year, ACC Capital, its parent company, agreed to pay $325 million to settle regulators' claims that it charged excessively high mortgage rates and didn't adequately disclose loan risks. Some of the state attorneys general who signed the settlement, including Greg Abbott of Texas, received campaign donations from the firm. Utah's attorney general, Mark Shurtleff, received a $1,000 contribution and Rolling Stones tickets. A spokesman for Mr. Shurtleff says the attorney general was not directly involved in negotiating the settlement. A spokesman for Mr. Abbott notes that the settlement was also negotiated and approved by 48 other state attorneys general.

Ameriquest also handed out Rolling Stones tickets to state legislators in Georgia, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and California, according to ethics records and local news accounts.

Federal lawmakers didn't pose much of a threat to the subprime industry in recent years. Members of Congress received at least $645,000 in donations from Ameriquest and large sums from other big subprime lenders, Federal Election Commission records indicate. They debated new oversight of the industry, but took no action.

The states were a different matter. "What seemed to be developing in the states was that there was going to be a wave of legislation," Mr. Andrews, the lobbyist, said in an interview.

In 2001, Georgia passed the Fair Lending Act. Among other things, it required lenders to be able to prove that a refinancing of any home loan less than five years old would provide a "tangible net benefit" to the borrower. Ameriquest began lobbying the state legislature to remove that provision, arguing the standard was too vague. Other lenders also complained about the law, as did Fannie Mae, the giant buyer of mortgages.

"Ameriquest was very, very engaged," recalls Georgia state Sen. Vincent Fort, who authored the law. Mr. Fort says that Adam Bass, a lawyer for Ameriquest, lobbied him directly. The state senator says he accused Mr. Bass of victimizing poor minorities, which angered Mr. Bass. A spokesman for Ameriquest, speaking on Mr. Bass's behalf, says the meeting "was a very candid conversation about complex policy issues."

Mr. Andrews, the industry lobbyist, had roots in Georgia. He had attended college and law school there, and in the 1970s, had worked for Sam Nunn, then a U.S. senator from Georgia. Mr. Andrews got involved directly on the subprime matter, lobbying in his capacity as executive director of the Responsible Mortgage Lending Coalition, one of the subprime-mortgage trade groups he ran out of his Washington office. "I wouldn't say it was a huge effort," he says. "We were just part of the overall picture."


Ameriquest began contributing to Georgia politicians. In December 2001, it donated $2,500 to Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor after he emerged as an influential figure in the debate, according to Georgia State Ethics Commission records. It followed up with another $2,500 in September 2002. Mr. Taylor says he remembers Ameriquest as one of the subprime companies that was lobbying, but doesn't recall meeting anyone from the company or getting the contributions.

In October 2002, Ameriquest announced it would stop doing business in the state until the law changed. Shortly thereafter, Standard & Poor's Corp. announced it would no longer assign credit ratings to many mortgage securities containing subprime loans from Georgia. The ratings agency said that under the new law, such loans, if found to be in violation of the law, might carry legal risk, potentially tainting the securities. Without credit ratings, such securities are virtually unmarketable. The change raised the possibility that subprime lenders would simply stop making loans in Georgia.

The subprime industry mounted a campaign against the Fair Lending Act. Within months, the Georgia Senate voted 29-26 in favor of a new law that eliminated for nearly all loans the tangible-net-benefit requirement opposed by the industry. The state House passed the law, 148-25.

Problems were also developing for the industry in New Jersey. The state Assembly there passed a similar law against predatory lending, the Home Ownership Security Act. It too contained a tangible-net-benefit rule, but it didn't provide much guidance on how the standard would be applied. "The New Jersey law makes it impossible for anyone to be in compliance," Mr. Bass, the Ameriquest lawyer, complained at an industry conference.

In October 2002, Ameriquest and Mr. Andrews's lobbying firm contributed $4,500 to five New Jersey state senators, state campaign reports indicate. The American Financial Services Association, a subprime industry group that included Ameriquest, predicted the law would cause lenders to abandon the state. Nevertheless, in the spring of 2003, the bill passed the state Senate and was signed into law.

At that point, opponents of the new law got some help. Just as it had done in Georgia, Standard & Poor's said it wouldn't rate some securities containing loans from the state. In addition, federal banking regulators issued a series of regulatory orders banning states from applying state consumer-protection rules to federally chartered banks and thrifts, part of a turf battle between federal and state regulators. That put pressure on states to soften predatory-lending rules so federally chartered banks didn't have an advantage over state-chartered ones.

The subprime industry set to work trying to roll back the New Jersey law. The National Home Equity Mortgage Association, one of the subprime groups run by Mr. Andrews, released a survey predicting that the law would reduce mortgages in New Jersey by $4 billion.

Ameriquest and Mr. Andrews's lobbying firm began handing out campaign contributions. Among the recipients were John Adler and Gerald Cardinale, two state senators who had voted for the new law. In October 2003, Mr. Cardinale, a Republican, received a $2,200 donation from Ameriquest, according to state election records. In November 2003, Mr. Adler, a Democrat, received $1,200 from the lobbying firm, the records indicate. In early December, the two senators introduced a bill to make changes sought by the industry.

'Remove Barriers'

"I don't remember ever being lobbied by Ameriquest," says Mr. Cardinale. "I do recall that we were trying to make it easier for folks to be able to access funds. And, in general, I feel it is a good thing for us to remove barriers to people being able to buy homes." He says he doesn't remember receiving any contributions from Ameriquest. "You guys think we know all of our contributors, but that's usually on a staff level. I don't frankly know who Ameriquest is."

Mr. Adler says he doesn't recall meeting anyone from Mr. Andrews's lobbying firm.

That December, Neil Cohen, a state assemblyman who had voted for the new law, received a $500 donation from the lobbying firm, state records show. The Assembly's Financial Institutions Committee, which was headed by Mr. Cohen, offered its own legislation to soften the lending law. Mr. Cohen couldn't be reached for comment.

In 2004, as debate over the predatory-lending law dragged on, Ameriquest and Mr. Andrews's lobbying firm together donated an additional $3,200 to Mr. Cohen, $1,100 to Mr. Cardinale and $1,300 to Mr. Adler, according to state records. Ameriquest gave $10,000 to the Democratic Party in the Assembly, $10,000 to Democrats in the Senate, and $7,000 to Senate Republicans, the records indicate.

Mr. Andrews's wife, Lisa, then head of government affairs at Ameriquest, was also focused on New Jersey. On the Web site of her Washington public-relations firm, she says that she "built a coalition of mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers, appraisers, title companies, and others involved in home mortgage lending to create a grass-roots lobbying campaign that produced 7,000 emails and faxes to state policymakers in a six-week time frame."

Rolling Back

In June 2004, New Jersey's Assembly and Senate unanimously passed bills that rolled back parts of the earlier law, including the tangible-net-benefit rule. Mr. Bass, the Ameriquest lawyer, announced that the company would "be offering a full range of loans in New Jersey." Thousands of New Jersey homeowners subsequently refinanced existing mortgages or took out new loans with Ameriquest before the subprime market tanked. Many of those loans are now in foreclosure.

After the victories in New Jersey and Georgia, the subprime industry and its lobbyists used similar tactics to fend off unfavorable laws in other states. Texas, for example, was debating new restrictions on home appraisers, whose overly generous valuations contributed to subprime-lending problems. ACC Capital, Ameriquest's parent company, and its executives gave more than $350,000 to Texas politicians in 2006, including $100,000 to Gov. Rick Perry, according to state records. No new appraisal restrictions were instituted. A spokesman for Gov. Perry says ACC did not ask for the governor to take any action on behalf of the industry.

In the wake of the collapse of the subprime market, Mr. Andrews's subprime lobbying business has withered. The three trade groups he ran are gone, and most of his subprime clients have stopped lobbying.

"I certainly was not aware of the degree to which many in the industry clearly failed to follow proper underwriting standards -- the standards which they represented they were following to those of us who were lobbying," Mr. Andrews says.

But he also faults the Federal Reserve for letting the industry get out of control.

"Personally, I think and have long felt the Fed should have done more early on," he says. "But I don't think anybody realized the level of problems that were going to come out in the last year or two. If you had said to me the industry was going to melt down, I would have said you were absolutely insane."

Write to Glenn R. Simpson at glenn.simpson@wsj.com
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#7 Author of original report

Obama's taking money from Roland Arnall, Deval Patrick is also involved...... Roland Arnall: Rapist, Murderer, Ambassador

AUTHOR: Markanna - (U.S.A.)

Lender Lobbying Blitz
Abetted Mortgage Mess Ameriquest Pressed For Changes in Laws;
A Battle in New Jersey

By GLENN R. SIMPSON
December 31, 2007; Page A1

During the housing boom, the subprime industry succeeded at more than just writing mortgages. It also shot down efforts by some states to curtail risky lending to borrowers with spotty credit.

Ameriquest Mortgage Co., until recently one of the nation's largest subprime lenders, was at the center of those battles. Working with a husband-and-wife team of Washington lobbyists, it handed out more than $20 million in political donations and played a big role in persuading legislators in New Jersey and Georgia to relax tough new laws. Those victories, in turn, helped blunt efforts by other states to crack down on reckless lending, critics of the industry contend.

THE SUBPRIME LOBBY


The Threat: Subprime lenders worried about a wave of restrictive new laws from state legislatures.
The Reaction: In New Jersey and Georgia, lenders lobbied and made political donations, helping to defeat legislation.
The Result: Changes that might have protected homeowners who are now in foreclosure were rolled back.Home loans made by Ameriquest and other subprime lenders are defaulting now in large numbers, roiling global credit markets and sparking debate about whether regulators and lawmakers should have anticipated the mess and taken action. A close look at Ameriquest's lobbying and political donations shows how the subprime industry maneuvered to defeat legislation that might have contained some of the damage.

Executives at Ameriquest, based in Orange, Calif., acknowledge that the company lobbied heavily against state lending restrictions, but say that other subprime lenders did so as well. In fact, a host of subprime lenders and banking trade groups, including Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., Countrywide Financial Corp. and the Mortgage Bankers Association, spent heavily on lobbying and political giving.

Ameriquest, a unit of ACC Capital Holdings, has stopped making new subprime loans, and it has sold some operations and is winding down others. It is now a defendant in hundreds of lawsuits alleging mortgage fraud.

Data from federal and state campaign-finance records, Internal Revenue Service filings, and the National Institute on Money in State Politics show that from 2002 through 2006, Ameriquest, its executives and their spouses and business associates donated at least $20.5 million to state and federal political groups. In comparison, over the same time period, Countrywide Financial, another large subprime lender, gave about $2 million in campaign gifts, and spent an additional $6.7 million lobbying in Washington, records indicate.


Some of the giving by Ameriquest executives and associates was high-profile. President Bush received more than $200,000 for his 2004 re-election campaign, and Ameriquest founder Roland Arnall and his wife, Dawn, contributed more than $5 million to political organizations that backed the president. Last year, President Bush appointed Mr. Arnall ambassador to the Netherlands, and his wife took over as chairman of Ameriquest's parent company. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaigns received at least $1.4 million, along with stacks of tickets to a Rolling Stones concert that were used to lure big donors. A spokesman for Gov. Schwarzenegger said his decisions are not influenced by campaign contributions. Mr. Arnall declined to comment. The White House said Mr. Arnall was nominated because of his qualifications.

Much of Ameriquest's efforts took place below the national radar, at the state level. State legislatures wanted to crack down on so-called predatory lending, which refers to the use of deceptive or unfair practices in the sale of high-interest loans, often to low-income borrowers who can't afford them. In New Jersey, for example, lawmakers passed a strong predatory-lending law in 2003 that made it difficult for Ameriquest to continue doing business there.


Washington lobbyist Wright Andrews and his wife, Lisa, coordinated much of the industry's lobbying. Mr. Andrews's firm, Butera & Andrews, collected at least $4 million in fees from the subprime industry from 2002 through 2006, congressional lobbying reports indicate. Mr. Andrews didn't represent Ameriquest directly. He ran three different subprime-industry trade groups: the National Home Equity Mortgage Association, of which Ameriquest was a member; the Coalition for Fair and Affordable Lending, which spent $6.3 million lobbying against state laws before it dissolved earlier this year, according to federal filings; and the Responsible Mortgage Lending Coalition.


In 2003, Lisa Andrews was appointed senior vice president for government affairs at Ameriquest. Her public-relations firm, Washington Communications Group Inc., claims credit on its Web site for coordinating the industry's victory in New Jersey, as well as its overall strategy at the state level. Ms. Andrews left Ameriquest in 2005 and returned to her firm..

Ameriquest was founded by Mr. Arnall in 1979 as Long Beach Savings & Loan. He later shed all of the thrift's operations except its retail-mortgage unit, which he renamed Ameriquest. During the refinancing boom of the 1990s, Ameriquest became a player in the business of lending to low-income homeowners. The company persuaded many homeowners to take cash out of their houses by refinancing them for larger amounts than their existing mortgages. Many of the new loans carried relatively high interest rates.

Settling Claims

Last year, ACC Capital, its parent company, agreed to pay $325 million to settle regulators' claims that it charged excessively high mortgage rates and didn't adequately disclose loan risks. Some of the state attorneys general who signed the settlement, including Greg Abbott of Texas, received campaign donations from the firm. Utah's attorney general, Mark Shurtleff, received a $1,000 contribution and Rolling Stones tickets. A spokesman for Mr. Shurtleff says the attorney general was not directly involved in negotiating the settlement. A spokesman for Mr. Abbott notes that the settlement was also negotiated and approved by 48 other state attorneys general.

Ameriquest also handed out Rolling Stones tickets to state legislators in Georgia, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and California, according to ethics records and local news accounts.

Federal lawmakers didn't pose much of a threat to the subprime industry in recent years. Members of Congress received at least $645,000 in donations from Ameriquest and large sums from other big subprime lenders, Federal Election Commission records indicate. They debated new oversight of the industry, but took no action.

The states were a different matter. "What seemed to be developing in the states was that there was going to be a wave of legislation," Mr. Andrews, the lobbyist, said in an interview.

In 2001, Georgia passed the Fair Lending Act. Among other things, it required lenders to be able to prove that a refinancing of any home loan less than five years old would provide a "tangible net benefit" to the borrower. Ameriquest began lobbying the state legislature to remove that provision, arguing the standard was too vague. Other lenders also complained about the law, as did Fannie Mae, the giant buyer of mortgages.

"Ameriquest was very, very engaged," recalls Georgia state Sen. Vincent Fort, who authored the law. Mr. Fort says that Adam Bass, a lawyer for Ameriquest, lobbied him directly. The state senator says he accused Mr. Bass of victimizing poor minorities, which angered Mr. Bass. A spokesman for Ameriquest, speaking on Mr. Bass's behalf, says the meeting "was a very candid conversation about complex policy issues."

Mr. Andrews, the industry lobbyist, had roots in Georgia. He had attended college and law school there, and in the 1970s, had worked for Sam Nunn, then a U.S. senator from Georgia. Mr. Andrews got involved directly on the subprime matter, lobbying in his capacity as executive director of the Responsible Mortgage Lending Coalition, one of the subprime-mortgage trade groups he ran out of his Washington office. "I wouldn't say it was a huge effort," he says. "We were just part of the overall picture."


Ameriquest began contributing to Georgia politicians. In December 2001, it donated $2,500 to Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor after he emerged as an influential figure in the debate, according to Georgia State Ethics Commission records. It followed up with another $2,500 in September 2002. Mr. Taylor says he remembers Ameriquest as one of the subprime companies that was lobbying, but doesn't recall meeting anyone from the company or getting the contributions.

In October 2002, Ameriquest announced it would stop doing business in the state until the law changed. Shortly thereafter, Standard & Poor's Corp. announced it would no longer assign credit ratings to many mortgage securities containing subprime loans from Georgia. The ratings agency said that under the new law, such loans, if found to be in violation of the law, might carry legal risk, potentially tainting the securities. Without credit ratings, such securities are virtually unmarketable. The change raised the possibility that subprime lenders would simply stop making loans in Georgia.

The subprime industry mounted a campaign against the Fair Lending Act. Within months, the Georgia Senate voted 29-26 in favor of a new law that eliminated for nearly all loans the tangible-net-benefit requirement opposed by the industry. The state House passed the law, 148-25.

Problems were also developing for the industry in New Jersey. The state Assembly there passed a similar law against predatory lending, the Home Ownership Security Act. It too contained a tangible-net-benefit rule, but it didn't provide much guidance on how the standard would be applied. "The New Jersey law makes it impossible for anyone to be in compliance," Mr. Bass, the Ameriquest lawyer, complained at an industry conference.

In October 2002, Ameriquest and Mr. Andrews's lobbying firm contributed $4,500 to five New Jersey state senators, state campaign reports indicate. The American Financial Services Association, a subprime industry group that included Ameriquest, predicted the law would cause lenders to abandon the state. Nevertheless, in the spring of 2003, the bill passed the state Senate and was signed into law.

At that point, opponents of the new law got some help. Just as it had done in Georgia, Standard & Poor's said it wouldn't rate some securities containing loans from the state. In addition, federal banking regulators issued a series of regulatory orders banning states from applying state consumer-protection rules to federally chartered banks and thrifts, part of a turf battle between federal and state regulators. That put pressure on states to soften predatory-lending rules so federally chartered banks didn't have an advantage over state-chartered ones.

The subprime industry set to work trying to roll back the New Jersey law. The National Home Equity Mortgage Association, one of the subprime groups run by Mr. Andrews, released a survey predicting that the law would reduce mortgages in New Jersey by $4 billion.

Ameriquest and Mr. Andrews's lobbying firm began handing out campaign contributions. Among the recipients were John Adler and Gerald Cardinale, two state senators who had voted for the new law. In October 2003, Mr. Cardinale, a Republican, received a $2,200 donation from Ameriquest, according to state election records. In November 2003, Mr. Adler, a Democrat, received $1,200 from the lobbying firm, the records indicate. In early December, the two senators introduced a bill to make changes sought by the industry.

'Remove Barriers'

"I don't remember ever being lobbied by Ameriquest," says Mr. Cardinale. "I do recall that we were trying to make it easier for folks to be able to access funds. And, in general, I feel it is a good thing for us to remove barriers to people being able to buy homes." He says he doesn't remember receiving any contributions from Ameriquest. "You guys think we know all of our contributors, but that's usually on a staff level. I don't frankly know who Ameriquest is."

Mr. Adler says he doesn't recall meeting anyone from Mr. Andrews's lobbying firm.

That December, Neil Cohen, a state assemblyman who had voted for the new law, received a $500 donation from the lobbying firm, state records show. The Assembly's Financial Institutions Committee, which was headed by Mr. Cohen, offered its own legislation to soften the lending law. Mr. Cohen couldn't be reached for comment.

In 2004, as debate over the predatory-lending law dragged on, Ameriquest and Mr. Andrews's lobbying firm together donated an additional $3,200 to Mr. Cohen, $1,100 to Mr. Cardinale and $1,300 to Mr. Adler, according to state records. Ameriquest gave $10,000 to the Democratic Party in the Assembly, $10,000 to Democrats in the Senate, and $7,000 to Senate Republicans, the records indicate.

Mr. Andrews's wife, Lisa, then head of government affairs at Ameriquest, was also focused on New Jersey. On the Web site of her Washington public-relations firm, she says that she "built a coalition of mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers, appraisers, title companies, and others involved in home mortgage lending to create a grass-roots lobbying campaign that produced 7,000 emails and faxes to state policymakers in a six-week time frame."

Rolling Back

In June 2004, New Jersey's Assembly and Senate unanimously passed bills that rolled back parts of the earlier law, including the tangible-net-benefit rule. Mr. Bass, the Ameriquest lawyer, announced that the company would "be offering a full range of loans in New Jersey." Thousands of New Jersey homeowners subsequently refinanced existing mortgages or took out new loans with Ameriquest before the subprime market tanked. Many of those loans are now in foreclosure.

After the victories in New Jersey and Georgia, the subprime industry and its lobbyists used similar tactics to fend off unfavorable laws in other states. Texas, for example, was debating new restrictions on home appraisers, whose overly generous valuations contributed to subprime-lending problems. ACC Capital, Ameriquest's parent company, and its executives gave more than $350,000 to Texas politicians in 2006, including $100,000 to Gov. Rick Perry, according to state records. No new appraisal restrictions were instituted. A spokesman for Gov. Perry says ACC did not ask for the governor to take any action on behalf of the industry.

In the wake of the collapse of the subprime market, Mr. Andrews's subprime lobbying business has withered. The three trade groups he ran are gone, and most of his subprime clients have stopped lobbying.

"I certainly was not aware of the degree to which many in the industry clearly failed to follow proper underwriting standards -- the standards which they represented they were following to those of us who were lobbying," Mr. Andrews says.

But he also faults the Federal Reserve for letting the industry get out of control.

"Personally, I think and have long felt the Fed should have done more early on," he says. "But I don't think anybody realized the level of problems that were going to come out in the last year or two. If you had said to me the industry was going to melt down, I would have said you were absolutely insane."

Write to Glenn R. Simpson at glenn.simpson@wsj.com
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#8 Author of original report

Obama's taking money from Roland Arnall, Deval Patrick is also involved...... Roland Arnall: Rapist, Murderer, Ambassador

AUTHOR: Markanna - (U.S.A.)

Lender Lobbying Blitz
Abetted Mortgage Mess Ameriquest Pressed For Changes in Laws;
A Battle in New Jersey

By GLENN R. SIMPSON
December 31, 2007; Page A1

During the housing boom, the subprime industry succeeded at more than just writing mortgages. It also shot down efforts by some states to curtail risky lending to borrowers with spotty credit.

Ameriquest Mortgage Co., until recently one of the nation's largest subprime lenders, was at the center of those battles. Working with a husband-and-wife team of Washington lobbyists, it handed out more than $20 million in political donations and played a big role in persuading legislators in New Jersey and Georgia to relax tough new laws. Those victories, in turn, helped blunt efforts by other states to crack down on reckless lending, critics of the industry contend.

THE SUBPRIME LOBBY


The Threat: Subprime lenders worried about a wave of restrictive new laws from state legislatures.
The Reaction: In New Jersey and Georgia, lenders lobbied and made political donations, helping to defeat legislation.
The Result: Changes that might have protected homeowners who are now in foreclosure were rolled back.Home loans made by Ameriquest and other subprime lenders are defaulting now in large numbers, roiling global credit markets and sparking debate about whether regulators and lawmakers should have anticipated the mess and taken action. A close look at Ameriquest's lobbying and political donations shows how the subprime industry maneuvered to defeat legislation that might have contained some of the damage.

Executives at Ameriquest, based in Orange, Calif., acknowledge that the company lobbied heavily against state lending restrictions, but say that other subprime lenders did so as well. In fact, a host of subprime lenders and banking trade groups, including Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., Countrywide Financial Corp. and the Mortgage Bankers Association, spent heavily on lobbying and political giving.

Ameriquest, a unit of ACC Capital Holdings, has stopped making new subprime loans, and it has sold some operations and is winding down others. It is now a defendant in hundreds of lawsuits alleging mortgage fraud.

Data from federal and state campaign-finance records, Internal Revenue Service filings, and the National Institute on Money in State Politics show that from 2002 through 2006, Ameriquest, its executives and their spouses and business associates donated at least $20.5 million to state and federal political groups. In comparison, over the same time period, Countrywide Financial, another large subprime lender, gave about $2 million in campaign gifts, and spent an additional $6.7 million lobbying in Washington, records indicate.


Some of the giving by Ameriquest executives and associates was high-profile. President Bush received more than $200,000 for his 2004 re-election campaign, and Ameriquest founder Roland Arnall and his wife, Dawn, contributed more than $5 million to political organizations that backed the president. Last year, President Bush appointed Mr. Arnall ambassador to the Netherlands, and his wife took over as chairman of Ameriquest's parent company. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaigns received at least $1.4 million, along with stacks of tickets to a Rolling Stones concert that were used to lure big donors. A spokesman for Gov. Schwarzenegger said his decisions are not influenced by campaign contributions. Mr. Arnall declined to comment. The White House said Mr. Arnall was nominated because of his qualifications.

Much of Ameriquest's efforts took place below the national radar, at the state level. State legislatures wanted to crack down on so-called predatory lending, which refers to the use of deceptive or unfair practices in the sale of high-interest loans, often to low-income borrowers who can't afford them. In New Jersey, for example, lawmakers passed a strong predatory-lending law in 2003 that made it difficult for Ameriquest to continue doing business there.


Washington lobbyist Wright Andrews and his wife, Lisa, coordinated much of the industry's lobbying. Mr. Andrews's firm, Butera & Andrews, collected at least $4 million in fees from the subprime industry from 2002 through 2006, congressional lobbying reports indicate. Mr. Andrews didn't represent Ameriquest directly. He ran three different subprime-industry trade groups: the National Home Equity Mortgage Association, of which Ameriquest was a member; the Coalition for Fair and Affordable Lending, which spent $6.3 million lobbying against state laws before it dissolved earlier this year, according to federal filings; and the Responsible Mortgage Lending Coalition.


In 2003, Lisa Andrews was appointed senior vice president for government affairs at Ameriquest. Her public-relations firm, Washington Communications Group Inc., claims credit on its Web site for coordinating the industry's victory in New Jersey, as well as its overall strategy at the state level. Ms. Andrews left Ameriquest in 2005 and returned to her firm..

Ameriquest was founded by Mr. Arnall in 1979 as Long Beach Savings & Loan. He later shed all of the thrift's operations except its retail-mortgage unit, which he renamed Ameriquest. During the refinancing boom of the 1990s, Ameriquest became a player in the business of lending to low-income homeowners. The company persuaded many homeowners to take cash out of their houses by refinancing them for larger amounts than their existing mortgages. Many of the new loans carried relatively high interest rates.

Settling Claims

Last year, ACC Capital, its parent company, agreed to pay $325 million to settle regulators' claims that it charged excessively high mortgage rates and didn't adequately disclose loan risks. Some of the state attorneys general who signed the settlement, including Greg Abbott of Texas, received campaign donations from the firm. Utah's attorney general, Mark Shurtleff, received a $1,000 contribution and Rolling Stones tickets. A spokesman for Mr. Shurtleff says the attorney general was not directly involved in negotiating the settlement. A spokesman for Mr. Abbott notes that the settlement was also negotiated and approved by 48 other state attorneys general.

Ameriquest also handed out Rolling Stones tickets to state legislators in Georgia, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and California, according to ethics records and local news accounts.

Federal lawmakers didn't pose much of a threat to the subprime industry in recent years. Members of Congress received at least $645,000 in donations from Ameriquest and large sums from other big subprime lenders, Federal Election Commission records indicate. They debated new oversight of the industry, but took no action.

The states were a different matter. "What seemed to be developing in the states was that there was going to be a wave of legislation," Mr. Andrews, the lobbyist, said in an interview.

In 2001, Georgia passed the Fair Lending Act. Among other things, it required lenders to be able to prove that a refinancing of any home loan less than five years old would provide a "tangible net benefit" to the borrower. Ameriquest began lobbying the state legislature to remove that provision, arguing the standard was too vague. Other lenders also complained about the law, as did Fannie Mae, the giant buyer of mortgages.

"Ameriquest was very, very engaged," recalls Georgia state Sen. Vincent Fort, who authored the law. Mr. Fort says that Adam Bass, a lawyer for Ameriquest, lobbied him directly. The state senator says he accused Mr. Bass of victimizing poor minorities, which angered Mr. Bass. A spokesman for Ameriquest, speaking on Mr. Bass's behalf, says the meeting "was a very candid conversation about complex policy issues."

Mr. Andrews, the industry lobbyist, had roots in Georgia. He had attended college and law school there, and in the 1970s, had worked for Sam Nunn, then a U.S. senator from Georgia. Mr. Andrews got involved directly on the subprime matter, lobbying in his capacity as executive director of the Responsible Mortgage Lending Coalition, one of the subprime-mortgage trade groups he ran out of his Washington office. "I wouldn't say it was a huge effort," he says. "We were just part of the overall picture."


Ameriquest began contributing to Georgia politicians. In December 2001, it donated $2,500 to Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor after he emerged as an influential figure in the debate, according to Georgia State Ethics Commission records. It followed up with another $2,500 in September 2002. Mr. Taylor says he remembers Ameriquest as one of the subprime companies that was lobbying, but doesn't recall meeting anyone from the company or getting the contributions.

In October 2002, Ameriquest announced it would stop doing business in the state until the law changed. Shortly thereafter, Standard & Poor's Corp. announced it would no longer assign credit ratings to many mortgage securities containing subprime loans from Georgia. The ratings agency said that under the new law, such loans, if found to be in violation of the law, might carry legal risk, potentially tainting the securities. Without credit ratings, such securities are virtually unmarketable. The change raised the possibility that subprime lenders would simply stop making loans in Georgia.

The subprime industry mounted a campaign against the Fair Lending Act. Within months, the Georgia Senate voted 29-26 in favor of a new law that eliminated for nearly all loans the tangible-net-benefit requirement opposed by the industry. The state House passed the law, 148-25.

Problems were also developing for the industry in New Jersey. The state Assembly there passed a similar law against predatory lending, the Home Ownership Security Act. It too contained a tangible-net-benefit rule, but it didn't provide much guidance on how the standard would be applied. "The New Jersey law makes it impossible for anyone to be in compliance," Mr. Bass, the Ameriquest lawyer, complained at an industry conference.

In October 2002, Ameriquest and Mr. Andrews's lobbying firm contributed $4,500 to five New Jersey state senators, state campaign reports indicate. The American Financial Services Association, a subprime industry group that included Ameriquest, predicted the law would cause lenders to abandon the state. Nevertheless, in the spring of 2003, the bill passed the state Senate and was signed into law.

At that point, opponents of the new law got some help. Just as it had done in Georgia, Standard & Poor's said it wouldn't rate some securities containing loans from the state. In addition, federal banking regulators issued a series of regulatory orders banning states from applying state consumer-protection rules to federally chartered banks and thrifts, part of a turf battle between federal and state regulators. That put pressure on states to soften predatory-lending rules so federally chartered banks didn't have an advantage over state-chartered ones.

The subprime industry set to work trying to roll back the New Jersey law. The National Home Equity Mortgage Association, one of the subprime groups run by Mr. Andrews, released a survey predicting that the law would reduce mortgages in New Jersey by $4 billion.

Ameriquest and Mr. Andrews's lobbying firm began handing out campaign contributions. Among the recipients were John Adler and Gerald Cardinale, two state senators who had voted for the new law. In October 2003, Mr. Cardinale, a Republican, received a $2,200 donation from Ameriquest, according to state election records. In November 2003, Mr. Adler, a Democrat, received $1,200 from the lobbying firm, the records indicate. In early December, the two senators introduced a bill to make changes sought by the industry.

'Remove Barriers'

"I don't remember ever being lobbied by Ameriquest," says Mr. Cardinale. "I do recall that we were trying to make it easier for folks to be able to access funds. And, in general, I feel it is a good thing for us to remove barriers to people being able to buy homes." He says he doesn't remember receiving any contributions from Ameriquest. "You guys think we know all of our contributors, but that's usually on a staff level. I don't frankly know who Ameriquest is."

Mr. Adler says he doesn't recall meeting anyone from Mr. Andrews's lobbying firm.

That December, Neil Cohen, a state assemblyman who had voted for the new law, received a $500 donation from the lobbying firm, state records show. The Assembly's Financial Institutions Committee, which was headed by Mr. Cohen, offered its own legislation to soften the lending law. Mr. Cohen couldn't be reached for comment.

In 2004, as debate over the predatory-lending law dragged on, Ameriquest and Mr. Andrews's lobbying firm together donated an additional $3,200 to Mr. Cohen, $1,100 to Mr. Cardinale and $1,300 to Mr. Adler, according to state records. Ameriquest gave $10,000 to the Democratic Party in the Assembly, $10,000 to Democrats in the Senate, and $7,000 to Senate Republicans, the records indicate.

Mr. Andrews's wife, Lisa, then head of government affairs at Ameriquest, was also focused on New Jersey. On the Web site of her Washington public-relations firm, she says that she "built a coalition of mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers, appraisers, title companies, and others involved in home mortgage lending to create a grass-roots lobbying campaign that produced 7,000 emails and faxes to state policymakers in a six-week time frame."

Rolling Back

In June 2004, New Jersey's Assembly and Senate unanimously passed bills that rolled back parts of the earlier law, including the tangible-net-benefit rule. Mr. Bass, the Ameriquest lawyer, announced that the company would "be offering a full range of loans in New Jersey." Thousands of New Jersey homeowners subsequently refinanced existing mortgages or took out new loans with Ameriquest before the subprime market tanked. Many of those loans are now in foreclosure.

After the victories in New Jersey and Georgia, the subprime industry and its lobbyists used similar tactics to fend off unfavorable laws in other states. Texas, for example, was debating new restrictions on home appraisers, whose overly generous valuations contributed to subprime-lending problems. ACC Capital, Ameriquest's parent company, and its executives gave more than $350,000 to Texas politicians in 2006, including $100,000 to Gov. Rick Perry, according to state records. No new appraisal restrictions were instituted. A spokesman for Gov. Perry says ACC did not ask for the governor to take any action on behalf of the industry.

In the wake of the collapse of the subprime market, Mr. Andrews's subprime lobbying business has withered. The three trade groups he ran are gone, and most of his subprime clients have stopped lobbying.

"I certainly was not aware of the degree to which many in the industry clearly failed to follow proper underwriting standards -- the standards which they represented they were following to those of us who were lobbying," Mr. Andrews says.

But he also faults the Federal Reserve for letting the industry get out of control.

"Personally, I think and have long felt the Fed should have done more early on," he says. "But I don't think anybody realized the level of problems that were going to come out in the last year or two. If you had said to me the industry was going to melt down, I would have said you were absolutely insane."

Write to Glenn R. Simpson at glenn.simpson@wsj.com
Respond to this report!
What's this?

#9 Author of original report

Obama's taking money from Roland Arnall, Deval Patrick is also involved...... Roland Arnall: Rapist, Murderer, Ambassador

AUTHOR: Markanna - (U.S.A.)

Lender Lobbying Blitz
Abetted Mortgage Mess Ameriquest Pressed For Changes in Laws;
A Battle in New Jersey

By GLENN R. SIMPSON
December 31, 2007; Page A1

During the housing boom, the subprime industry succeeded at more than just writing mortgages. It also shot down efforts by some states to curtail risky lending to borrowers with spotty credit.

Ameriquest Mortgage Co., until recently one of the nation's largest subprime lenders, was at the center of those battles. Working with a husband-and-wife team of Washington lobbyists, it handed out more than $20 million in political donations and played a big role in persuading legislators in New Jersey and Georgia to relax tough new laws. Those victories, in turn, helped blunt efforts by other states to crack down on reckless lending, critics of the industry contend.

THE SUBPRIME LOBBY


The Threat: Subprime lenders worried about a wave of restrictive new laws from state legislatures.
The Reaction: In New Jersey and Georgia, lenders lobbied and made political donations, helping to defeat legislation.
The Result: Changes that might have protected homeowners who are now in foreclosure were rolled back.Home loans made by Ameriquest and other subprime lenders are defaulting now in large numbers, roiling global credit markets and sparking debate about whether regulators and lawmakers should have anticipated the mess and taken action. A close look at Ameriquest's lobbying and political donations shows how the subprime industry maneuvered to defeat legislation that might have contained some of the damage.

Executives at Ameriquest, based in Orange, Calif., acknowledge that the company lobbied heavily against state lending restrictions, but say that other subprime lenders did so as well. In fact, a host of subprime lenders and banking trade groups, including Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., Countrywide Financial Corp. and the Mortgage Bankers Association, spent heavily on lobbying and political giving.

Ameriquest, a unit of ACC Capital Holdings, has stopped making new subprime loans, and it has sold some operations and is winding down others. It is now a defendant in hundreds of lawsuits alleging mortgage fraud.

Data from federal and state campaign-finance records, Internal Revenue Service filings, and the National Institute on Money in State Politics show that from 2002 through 2006, Ameriquest, its executives and their spouses and business associates donated at least $20.5 million to state and federal political groups. In comparison, over the same time period, Countrywide Financial, another large subprime lender, gave about $2 million in campaign gifts, and spent an additional $6.7 million lobbying in Washington, records indicate.


Some of the giving by Ameriquest executives and associates was high-profile. President Bush received more than $200,000 for his 2004 re-election campaign, and Ameriquest founder Roland Arnall and his wife, Dawn, contributed more than $5 million to political organizations that backed the president. Last year, President Bush appointed Mr. Arnall ambassador to the Netherlands, and his wife took over as chairman of Ameriquest's parent company. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaigns received at least $1.4 million, along with stacks of tickets to a Rolling Stones concert that were used to lure big donors. A spokesman for Gov. Schwarzenegger said his decisions are not influenced by campaign contributions. Mr. Arnall declined to comment. The White House said Mr. Arnall was nominated because of his qualifications.

Much of Ameriquest's efforts took place below the national radar, at the state level. State legislatures wanted to crack down on so-called predatory lending, which refers to the use of deceptive or unfair practices in the sale of high-interest loans, often to low-income borrowers who can't afford them. In New Jersey, for example, lawmakers passed a strong predatory-lending law in 2003 that made it difficult for Ameriquest to continue doing business there.


Washington lobbyist Wright Andrews and his wife, Lisa, coordinated much of the industry's lobbying. Mr. Andrews's firm, Butera & Andrews, collected at least $4 million in fees from the subprime industry from 2002 through 2006, congressional lobbying reports indicate. Mr. Andrews didn't represent Ameriquest directly. He ran three different subprime-industry trade groups: the National Home Equity Mortgage Association, of which Ameriquest was a member; the Coalition for Fair and Affordable Lending, which spent $6.3 million lobbying against state laws before it dissolved earlier this year, according to federal filings; and the Responsible Mortgage Lending Coalition.


In 2003, Lisa Andrews was appointed senior vice president for government affairs at Ameriquest. Her public-relations firm, Washington Communications Group Inc., claims credit on its Web site for coordinating the industry's victory in New Jersey, as well as its overall strategy at the state level. Ms. Andrews left Ameriquest in 2005 and returned to her firm..

Ameriquest was founded by Mr. Arnall in 1979 as Long Beach Savings & Loan. He later shed all of the thrift's operations except its retail-mortgage unit, which he renamed Ameriquest. During the refinancing boom of the 1990s, Ameriquest became a player in the business of lending to low-income homeowners. The company persuaded many homeowners to take cash out of their houses by refinancing them for larger amounts than their existing mortgages. Many of the new loans carried relatively high interest rates.

Settling Claims

Last year, ACC Capital, its parent company, agreed to pay $325 million to settle regulators' claims that it charged excessively high mortgage rates and didn't adequately disclose loan risks. Some of the state attorneys general who signed the settlement, including Greg Abbott of Texas, received campaign donations from the firm. Utah's attorney general, Mark Shurtleff, received a $1,000 contribution and Rolling Stones tickets. A spokesman for Mr. Shurtleff says the attorney general was not directly involved in negotiating the settlement. A spokesman for Mr. Abbott notes that the settlement was also negotiated and approved by 48 other state attorneys general.

Ameriquest also handed out Rolling Stones tickets to state legislators in Georgia, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and California, according to ethics records and local news accounts.

Federal lawmakers didn't pose much of a threat to the subprime industry in recent years. Members of Congress received at least $645,000 in donations from Ameriquest and large sums from other big subprime lenders, Federal Election Commission records indicate. They debated new oversight of the industry, but took no action.

The states were a different matter. "What seemed to be developing in the states was that there was going to be a wave of legislation," Mr. Andrews, the lobbyist, said in an interview.

In 2001, Georgia passed the Fair Lending Act. Among other things, it required lenders to be able to prove that a refinancing of any home loan less than five years old would provide a "tangible net benefit" to the borrower. Ameriquest began lobbying the state legislature to remove that provision, arguing the standard was too vague. Other lenders also complained about the law, as did Fannie Mae, the giant buyer of mortgages.

"Ameriquest was very, very engaged," recalls Georgia state Sen. Vincent Fort, who authored the law. Mr. Fort says that Adam Bass, a lawyer for Ameriquest, lobbied him directly. The state senator says he accused Mr. Bass of victimizing poor minorities, which angered Mr. Bass. A spokesman for Ameriquest, speaking on Mr. Bass's behalf, says the meeting "was a very candid conversation about complex policy issues."

Mr. Andrews, the industry lobbyist, had roots in Georgia. He had attended college and law school there, and in the 1970s, had worked for Sam Nunn, then a U.S. senator from Georgia. Mr. Andrews got involved directly on the subprime matter, lobbying in his capacity as executive director of the Responsible Mortgage Lending Coalition, one of the subprime-mortgage trade groups he ran out of his Washington office. "I wouldn't say it was a huge effort," he says. "We were just part of the overall picture."


Ameriquest began contributing to Georgia politicians. In December 2001, it donated $2,500 to Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor after he emerged as an influential figure in the debate, according to Georgia State Ethics Commission records. It followed up with another $2,500 in September 2002. Mr. Taylor says he remembers Ameriquest as one of the subprime companies that was lobbying, but doesn't recall meeting anyone from the company or getting the contributions.

In October 2002, Ameriquest announced it would stop doing business in the state until the law changed. Shortly thereafter, Standard & Poor's Corp. announced it would no longer assign credit ratings to many mortgage securities containing subprime loans from Georgia. The ratings agency said that under the new law, such loans, if found to be in violation of the law, might carry legal risk, potentially tainting the securities. Without credit ratings, such securities are virtually unmarketable. The change raised the possibility that subprime lenders would simply stop making loans in Georgia.

The subprime industry mounted a campaign against the Fair Lending Act. Within months, the Georgia Senate voted 29-26 in favor of a new law that eliminated for nearly all loans the tangible-net-benefit requirement opposed by the industry. The state House passed the law, 148-25.

Problems were also developing for the industry in New Jersey. The state Assembly there passed a similar law against predatory lending, the Home Ownership Security Act. It too contained a tangible-net-benefit rule, but it didn't provide much guidance on how the standard would be applied. "The New Jersey law makes it impossible for anyone to be in compliance," Mr. Bass, the Ameriquest lawyer, complained at an industry conference.

In October 2002, Ameriquest and Mr. Andrews's lobbying firm contributed $4,500 to five New Jersey state senators, state campaign reports indicate. The American Financial Services Association, a subprime industry group that included Ameriquest, predicted the law would cause lenders to abandon the state. Nevertheless, in the spring of 2003, the bill passed the state Senate and was signed into law.

At that point, opponents of the new law got some help. Just as it had done in Georgia, Standard & Poor's said it wouldn't rate some securities containing loans from the state. In addition, federal banking regulators issued a series of regulatory orders banning states from applying state consumer-protection rules to federally chartered banks and thrifts, part of a turf battle between federal and state regulators. That put pressure on states to soften predatory-lending rules so federally chartered banks didn't have an advantage over state-chartered ones.

The subprime industry set to work trying to roll back the New Jersey law. The National Home Equity Mortgage Association, one of the subprime groups run by Mr. Andrews, released a survey predicting that the law would reduce mortgages in New Jersey by $4 billion.

Ameriquest and Mr. Andrews's lobbying firm began handing out campaign contributions. Among the recipients were John Adler and Gerald Cardinale, two state senators who had voted for the new law. In October 2003, Mr. Cardinale, a Republican, received a $2,200 donation from Ameriquest, according to state election records. In November 2003, Mr. Adler, a Democrat, received $1,200 from the lobbying firm, the records indicate. In early December, the two senators introduced a bill to make changes sought by the industry.

'Remove Barriers'

"I don't remember ever being lobbied by Ameriquest," says Mr. Cardinale. "I do recall that we were trying to make it easier for folks to be able to access funds. And, in general, I feel it is a good thing for us to remove barriers to people being able to buy homes." He says he doesn't remember receiving any contributions from Ameriquest. "You guys think we know all of our contributors, but that's usually on a staff level. I don't frankly know who Ameriquest is."

Mr. Adler says he doesn't recall meeting anyone from Mr. Andrews's lobbying firm.

That December, Neil Cohen, a state assemblyman who had voted for the new law, received a $500 donation from the lobbying firm, state records show. The Assembly's Financial Institutions Committee, which was headed by Mr. Cohen, offered its own legislation to soften the lending law. Mr. Cohen couldn't be reached for comment.

In 2004, as debate over the predatory-lending law dragged on, Ameriquest and Mr. Andrews's lobbying firm together donated an additional $3,200 to Mr. Cohen, $1,100 to Mr. Cardinale and $1,300 to Mr. Adler, according to state records. Ameriquest gave $10,000 to the Democratic Party in the Assembly, $10,000 to Democrats in the Senate, and $7,000 to Senate Republicans, the records indicate.

Mr. Andrews's wife, Lisa, then head of government affairs at Ameriquest, was also focused on New Jersey. On the Web site of her Washington public-relations firm, she says that she "built a coalition of mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers, appraisers, title companies, and others involved in home mortgage lending to create a grass-roots lobbying campaign that produced 7,000 emails and faxes to state policymakers in a six-week time frame."

Rolling Back

In June 2004, New Jersey's Assembly and Senate unanimously passed bills that rolled back parts of the earlier law, including the tangible-net-benefit rule. Mr. Bass, the Ameriquest lawyer, announced that the company would "be offering a full range of loans in New Jersey." Thousands of New Jersey homeowners subsequently refinanced existing mortgages or took out new loans with Ameriquest before the subprime market tanked. Many of those loans are now in foreclosure.

After the victories in New Jersey and Georgia, the subprime industry and its lobbyists used similar tactics to fend off unfavorable laws in other states. Texas, for example, was debating new restrictions on home appraisers, whose overly generous valuations contributed to subprime-lending problems. ACC Capital, Ameriquest's parent company, and its executives gave more than $350,000 to Texas politicians in 2006, including $100,000 to Gov. Rick Perry, according to state records. No new appraisal restrictions were instituted. A spokesman for Gov. Perry says ACC did not ask for the governor to take any action on behalf of the industry.

In the wake of the collapse of the subprime market, Mr. Andrews's subprime lobbying business has withered. The three trade groups he ran are gone, and most of his subprime clients have stopped lobbying.

"I certainly was not aware of the degree to which many in the industry clearly failed to follow proper underwriting standards -- the standards which they represented they were following to those of us who were lobbying," Mr. Andrews says.

But he also faults the Federal Reserve for letting the industry get out of control.

"Personally, I think and have long felt the Fed should have done more early on," he says. "But I don't think anybody realized the level of problems that were going to come out in the last year or two. If you had said to me the industry was going to melt down, I would have said you were absolutely insane."

Write to Glenn R. Simpson at glenn.simpson@wsj.com
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#10 Author of original report

Ameriquest attorneys Buchalter & Nemer, Withholding Evidence 7-24-2007

AUTHOR: Markanna - (U.S.A.)

UPDATE:

Ameriquest attorneys Buchalter & Nemer, Say in a letter fedexed to me on July 24, 2007, That Mr. Tom Noto is no longer with ameriquest, They also say that, If I don't stop posting things on the "Mortgage Servicing Fraud Forum", That ameriquest would have the right to sue me.

I first contacted the ameriquest attorneys Buchalter & Nemer, About them breaching the settlement agreement in February 2007 of this year.

Since the time ameriquest breached the settlement, So far, They will not provide 2 letters of evidence, That I have been requesting for more then 3 months now, They will not answer any questions about the breach, Been asking that for more then 5 months now,They have not provided the contact info for the Settlement Monitor or the compliance officer for ameriquest, that I have requested in a letter to them.

If, ameriquest and or their attorneys can't answer questions, Or resolve the breach they caused, with in close to 6 months now, Then I would have to think that they have no right to sue anyone!

If the ameriquest and the law firm Buchalter & Nemer, want to bring a frivolous law suit against me, Then that will be their choice.

If ameriquest and or their attorneys would make efforts to resolve problems, instead of AVOIDING them they would be better off.
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#11 Author of original report

Thanks

AUTHOR: Markanna - (U.S.A.)

Thanks for the info D, I'm not taking the 212.98 dollars they are giving people in Florida.
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#12 Consumer Suggestion

Not sure if this helps, but it's an idea where to start

AUTHOR: D - (U.S.A.)

According to research, Inner City Press released the following information on 7/16:

"Update of July 16, 2007: The letters and notices of the state attorneys general's $325 million settlement with Ameriquest have started going out. The possible range of settlements? $123 to $2,418. Of what use is $123 to someone who's losing their home?"


concerning the Ameriquest suit for predatory lending. No mention was made of Mr. Moore, but perhaps you can further track from them.

Maybe you can check with your Attorney General to see how this might effect your case?
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#13 Author of original report

I asked Roland Arnall for help, Him and Aseem Mital in 2005 in a letter.

AUTHOR: Markanna - (U.S.A.)

If Ameriquest wants to with hold evidence and breach settlements, then that's up to them.

I have asked the ameriquest attorneys for document's regarding them breaching the settlement, but they will not provide them.

I would like to know how to contact the MONITOR for the 48 state ameriquest settlement, but I can't seem to find out how to contact him?

His name is Mr. Michael Moore. He's a hard to find kind of guy, I have asked Mr. Tommy Miller for the contact info for Mr. Moore but I can't seem to get an answer?

Ameriquest is breaching the settlement agreement they made with me, and the one they made with the 48 states Attorneys.

I have a copy of the letters I faxed to Roland Arnall and Aseem Mital regarding asking them for help with their company. I also have a copy of a response I got from Mr. Arnalls email address.

I only asked Roland Arnall and Aseem Mital for help because I could not get any answers from ameriquest. I was renting and making mortgage payment while waiting for answers that never came.

I email the ameriquest attorneys Buchalter Nemer On Friday, July 20th 2007 last week, To ask them if they were going to resolve the breach, So far no answer.

I would like to say GOOD LUCK to Ken and everyone here.

Keep up the Great Fight!
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#14 Author of original report

update

AUTHOR: Markanna - (U.S.A.)

Forwarded Message:
Subj: Fwd: Questions
Date: 7/18/2007 11:15:38 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: ''''-------''''
To: TNoto@ameriquest.com, webteam@ag.state.ia.us, corlando@ameriquest.com, Shanna1016

To: Mr. Noto

This is a Qualified Written Request, Regarding ameriquest breaching the settlement.

I would like to know why ameriquest or their attorneys will not provide 2 letters I have requested related to their breach of settlement?

I'm forwarding this email to you so you can see that I have asked for this info, but they refuse to comply.

Because ameriquest didn't use due care after the settlement they have caused us yet more harm, I was trying to buy a new home, but because ameriquest marked bad things on my credit after the settlement it caused us to not be able to get a home. So we are still having to live with 1/2 of us in a shed converted in to a very small home. 12x24.

This is very stressful to me and my family having to have to deal with this everyday.

If ameriquest would have used due care and NOT to put any further bad marks on my credit, I would not be here writing you today.

Because this is urgent, I would be grateful for a timely resolution.

Thanks

Markana xxxxxxxxx July 18, 2007
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#15 Author of original report

Ameriquest Breached the Settlement Agreement.

AUTHOR: Markanna - (U.S.A.)

Ameriquest breached the settlement agreement.

I contacted the attorney for Ameriquest Joanne N. Davies of
Buchalter Nemer, A Professional Law Corporation, about Ameriquest breaching the settlement agreement they made with me. I have asked many times for documents regarding my credit but still have not received a copy of the letters I requested.

This below is part of an email from Joanne Davies regarding my request for documents related to the breach of settlement.

Subject: Questions
Date: 3/16/2007 8:43:27 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: jdavies@Buchalter.com
Reply To:
To: (((redacted)))
CC:
BCC:
Sent on:

Sent from the Internet

The company has provided you with all of the documents that it intends to provide with respect to your credit correction.

Joanne N. Davies
BuchalterNemer, A Professional Law Corporation
18400 Von Karman Avenue, Suite 800 | Irvine, CA 92612-0514
Direct Dial: (949) 224-6221 | Direct Fax: (949) 224-6209

Switchboard: (949) 760-1121 | General Fax: (949) 720-0182
Email: jdavies@buchalter.com | www.buchalter.com

CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.
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#16 Consumer Suggestion

Well

AUTHOR: Ken - (U.S.A.)

I have made a comment on your post but i havent seen you reply? Im guessing you settled with Ameriquest for a low settlement and you are not able to say anything on your case!!


I cant believe you settled with a fraudulant company. I have read your story and their isnt any amout they would offer me to settle!!



Merry X-MAS to all!
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#17 Consumer Suggestion

Well

AUTHOR: Ken - (U.S.A.)

I have made a comment on your post but i havent seen you reply? Im guessing you settled with Ameriquest for a low settlement and you are not able to say anything on your case!!


I cant believe you settled with a fraudulant company. I have read your story and their isnt any amout they would offer me to settle!!



Merry X-MAS to all!
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#18 Consumer Suggestion

Well

AUTHOR: Ken - (U.S.A.)

I have made a comment on your post but i havent seen you reply? Im guessing you settled with Ameriquest for a low settlement and you are not able to say anything on your case!!


I cant believe you settled with a fraudulant company. I have read your story and their isnt any amout they would offer me to settle!!



Merry X-MAS to all!
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#19 Consumer Suggestion

Markana

AUTHOR: Ken - (U.S.A.)

Havent heard from you in a while but i see the post that your wrote and it says resolved?


Have you been bought by Ameriquest!
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#20 Consumer Suggestion

Markana

AUTHOR: Ken - (U.S.A.)

Havent heard from you in a while but i see the post that your wrote and it says resolved?


Have you been bought by Ameriquest!
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#21 Consumer Suggestion

Markana

AUTHOR: Ken - (U.S.A.)

Havent heard from you in a while but i see the post that your wrote and it says resolved?


Have you been bought by Ameriquest!
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#22 Author of original report

Resolved

AUTHOR: Markanna - (U.S.A.)

Resolved
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#23 Consumer Comment

Thanks for your support.

AUTHOR: Markanna - (U.S.A.)

I need a Lawyer, it will be one year since the signing of the mortgage on July 23, 2005

then I think I will be unable to sue them, if I have to take them to arbitration I will.



I feel like I'm alone in a boat that's sinking, and ameriquest ''SHARKS''are waiting for the boat to sink.



Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.



Thank's From Florida :o) USA?
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#24 UPDATE EX-employee responds

How does Mary Jo sleep at night?

AUTHOR: Former - (U.S.A.)

I am truly sorry to read of your current situation. I worked for AMC for many years, and I left almost a year ago, because the company was becoming so evil. I felt sick to my stomach every day, going to work. I was in such shock at the things that were starting to take place at work.



When you say your deadline is 7-23-05, what deadline? and what type of help do you need? I hope you have found an attorney. I commend you on being such a strong woman, and caring for your mother and sister, and for being a positive example for your son. Please be more specific on what type of help you need, and maybe some one on this site can help.
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