A Colorado Springs company has been ordered to pay more than $78,000 in fines by a Fremont County District Court judge.

Independence Planning, also known as Alternative Lending of Colorado, its managing partner James W. Dale and April Bigler were accused of “irresponsible and deceptive lending practices,” said Colorado Attorney General John Suthers.

“This settlement and its terms should serve as a warning to mortgage originators that place their bottom line ahead of their responsibilities under Colorado law,” he said.

Bigler, the company’s top loan originator, will be assessed $33,740 in restitution and $15,000 in civil penalties. All but $10,800 of the settlement will be suspended if she complies with the terms of the settlement. Dale will be assessed $16,885 in restitution and $14,000 in civil penalties. All but $7,200 will be suspended if he complies with the rest of the settlement. The two must voluntarily surrender their mortgage loan originator licenses and notify the attorney general if they intend to work in a mortgage-related business again.

According to the complaint, filed last October, Bigler engaged in deceptive trade practices – misrepresenting loans’ interest rates, quoting monthly mortgage payments that did not include taxes and insurance and delaying closings to pressure people into signing a mortgage. Bigler also is accused of working with appraisers to over-value homes, resulting in borrowers owing more on their homes than they were worth. She also is accused of inflating borrowers’ incomes on mortgage applications and failing to provide complete disclosures to borrowers.

Independence Planning dissolved Dec. 1.

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