Frontier Appraisals, LLC, Denver, Colorado, settled a case brought against it by Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray. Frontier was accused of trying to influence the independent appraisal of a residential property in Zanesville, Ohio.
The Frontier settlement, filed in the Muskingum County Court of Common Pleas, resolves a December 2007 lawsuit that charged Frontier with violating Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act. Frontier admitted to no wrongdoing in the settlement, but the court ordered it to pay a $5,000 civil penalty and prohibited it from indicating a loan amount or estimated value in future appraisal requests.
The Frontier case is the second of six undue influence lawsuits expected to conclude in the coming months. The first suit concluded in late January, when Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven L. McIntosh issued a default judgment against All Line Appraisals, a Phoenix-based company accused of attempting to improperly influence the appraisal of a Columbus, Ohio property.
Four additional undue influence lawsuits are pending. Those suits are:
State v. Apex Mortgage (Belmont County, Case Number 07-CV-261)
State v. CFIC Direct (Licking County, Case Number 2007-CV-2174)
State v. First Ohio Banc & Lending (Belmont County, Case Number 07-CV-259)
State v. Nations Lending Corp. (Cuyahoga County, Case Number CV-07-644350)
All six cases were referred to the Attorney General’s Office by the licensed Ohio appraisers who had received appraisal request forms containing estimated property values, loan amounts, or desired appraisal amounts.
“Frontier had sent an appraisal request form to a licensed Central Ohio appraiser, listing a pre-printed loan amount and a pre-printed estimated value,” said Attorney General Cordray. “That indicates Frontier was trying to persuade the appraiser to make an appraisal for those amounts. We are committed to taking aggressive action to stop this and other types of real estate fraud.”
“This is an example of how government and businesses can work together to stop mortgage fraud before it occurs,” said Cordray. “Cooperative efforts like these help us to identify possible violations of the law and make Ohio a safer place to do business.”
Attorney General Cordray announced the settlement and acknowledged the work of his predecessors, Marc Dann and Nancy H. Rogers, in laying the groundwork for these efforts.
Consumers and businesses who suspect fraud are encouraged to contact Attorney General Cordray’s Office by calling 1-800-282-0515 or by visiting www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov.