More than 2,700 Floridians will receive payment from Countrywide Financial Corp. as part of a settlement with the Florida Attorney General on a 2008 lawsuit, alleging Countrywide engaged in deceptive and unfair business practices. More than $16.9m will be distributed, and each borrower would receive a $6,000 check. In the lawsuit filed in July 2008, the attorney general claimed Countrywide placed borrowers into mortgages they could not afford or had misleading rates and penalties. In October 2008, Countrywide entered into a settlement agreement, which included a foreclosure relief program for qualifying Florida homeowners. Countrywide, since acquired by Bank of America (BAC) entered into a nationwide settlement agreement in October 2008 to provide $8.4bn in foreclosure relief after a slew of AG’s filed similar lawsuits, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, West Virginia, Virginia and Texas. In July 2009, Countrywide sent $7.46m in restitutions to eligible Texans who lost their homes to foreclosure. Checks to Florida homeowners must be cashed before May 13, 2010 and could be taxable. The settlement also includes $4m to fund a foreclosure defense assistance program, provided to organizations over two years. The recipients would provide free legal assistance to eligible homeowners on the verge of foreclosure but cannot afford an attorney. Florida currently holds the fourth highest foreclosure rate in the country, where one in every 187 homes received a foreclosure notice, according to RealtyTrac. Write to Jon Prior. The author holds no relevent investments.
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