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Predatory Lending

Payday loan companies are known for their very high interest rates and their ability to trap consumers into loans that are very difficult to pay off. The complaint for this class action alleges that Activehours, Inc., which does business as Earnin is a payday lender, but uses different terms in its business that it hopes will let it circumvent lending laws.

BlueChip Financial Logo

This class action takes on the payday lending entity BlueChip Financial, which does business as Spotloan. However, it also brings suit against officials of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, which purportedly owns BlueChip, for acting as a front for Spotloan.

Big Picture Loans Logo

This is yet another class action taking on a “rent-a-tribe” payday loan scheme. Big Picture Loans, LLC was not actually a tribal company, the complaint for this class action alleges, but a scheme designed to get around licensing requirements and laws that prohibit lenders from charging too much interest. (Note that this case was transferred from another jurisdiction and so has two different case numbers on documents.)

MobiLoans Logo

This is yet another case about the “rent-a-tribe” usurious lending scheme run primarly by Think Finance, LLC and its associates. This time, the defendant is MobiLoans, LLC and the complaint alleges violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

Great Plains Lending Logo

This is the fourth complaint these same plaintiffs have filed for this “rent-a-tribe” usury scheme, each time against a different group of defendants. This time, defendants are Mark Curry, Brian McGowan, Eric Lau, and Sentinel Resources, LLC. The class action claims they have violated Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) laws as well as Virginia’s usury laws.

Roll of Cash

State laws regulate lenders, requiring that they be licensed and specifying a ceiling on the amount of interest they can charge. But in recent years, some have tried to get around these laws, and any regulation whatsoever, by falsely claiming that their loan companies are owned by Native American tribes and taking advantage of sovereignty laws. The complaint for this class action details one such “rent-a-tribe” scheme, which it says violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

Debt Ball and Chain

States have usury laws that prevent lenders from setting outrageous terms that hard-pressed customers will never be able to fulfill. But these laws don’t always apply to short-term loans. The complaint for this class actions cites one company, Speedy Cash, that allegedly charges interest rates, fees, and penalties so high that borrowers can never repay their loans, and it claims that the company deliberately presents the loan agreements in such a way that customers have no time to review them and see what they are really signing up for. 

Bundle of Money Baiting a Mouse Trap

The complaint for this class action outlines yet another “rent-a-tribe” arrangement in which a Native American tribe allegedly acts as a front for a payday loan scheme to charge astronomical interest rates to get around state or federal usury laws. Not only is the tribe not truly involved, the complaint says; the fees charged have been excessive and RICO charges should be considered.

Great Plains Logo

This class action is one of a number brought against Great Plains Lending and others for predatory lending  practices, including one filed by the Pennsylvania Attorney General. According to the complaint, Great Plains posed as a tribal company in an attempt to circumvent lending laws. Under the scheme, the complaint says, loans were made in the name of the tribe, but funds were supplied and loans were processed by non-tribal entities. Profits were also split among non-tribal entities, the complaint says, with the tribes getting 1% interest in the loans plus a service fee. The complaint alleges violations of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) laws and the Electronic Funds Transfer Act. 

Payday Loan Sign in Storefront Window

This is the third of three related cases alleging that unscrupulous lenders have used Native American tribal sovereignty to get around state usury laws and illegally extract nearly $70 million from Virginia residents in the last four years. The forty-page complaint contains a great deal of detail on the workings of the two tribal companies and the roles and actions of different parties in the scheme. The complaint alleges violations of (1) the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) laws, which forbid the “collection of unlawful debt” and (2) Virginia laws prohibiting the charging of more than 12% interest on loans.

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