SANTA ANA (CBS/AP) — An Orange County mortgage firm is accused of cheating distressed homeowners in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Attorney General has filed a lawsuit alleging that Costa Mesa-based Meredian Financial Corp. pretended to be homeowners’ current mortgage company in order to gain their trust, then collected fees for refinancing services not delivered.

According to the suit filed Monday in Hennepin County District Court, Meredian charged between $1,000 and $4,000 in fees and said they would be refunded at closing.

But instead, the lawsuit says, the company ceased work on the loan, created excuses and never refunded the fees.

Messages left at Meredian by reporters were not immediately returned Monday.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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