CHARLESTON -- Seventeen internet payday lenders, collection agencies and their principals have been hit with two lawsuits by Attorney General Darrell McGraw's Consumer Protection Division.
The lawsuits come as part of a continuing effort by the attorney general to halt the victimization of West Virginia consumers by online payday lenders and their collection agencies.
"It is now more important than ever to stop modern day loan sharks from preying on West Virginia consumers who may be tempted by difficult financial circumstances to apply for payday loans on the Internet," McGraw said. "While these companies offer quick and easy money, most consumers end up paying ten times the amount borrowed without ever paying off the loan."
A series of interconnected corporations and individuals, jointly operating at least four websites,that made usurious payday loans to West Virginia consumers under the trade name FFD Resources were the target of one of McGraw's lawsuits.
McGraw alleges that FFD Resources and its companies have refused to comply with investigative subpoenas and have continued to collect on their unlawful loans in violation of a 2007 court order.
The lawsuit names FFD Ventures, LP; DFD Ventures, LP; First Fidelity, Inc.; FFD Resources I, doing business as Cash Supply; FFD Resources II, LLC, doing business as Web Payday; FFD Resources III, LLC, doing business as Payday Services; FFD Resources IV, LLC, doing business as Payday Yes; FFD Resources IV, LLC, doing business as Paper Check Payday; Great American Credit Management; Richard Clay; Jeanne Wint; Jaynes Hughes and Ken Collom.
McGraw's second lawsuit asks the court to order four collection agencies - Capital Collections, LLC, Claims Investigators of America, Crime Monitoring Center and Premier Recovery Group - to comply with his investigative subpoenas and to stop collecting Internet payday loans in West Virginia.
The lawsuits are McGraw's latest actions as part of his ongoing investigation into the Internet payday lending industry, which he began in 2005. Since then, McGraw's office has made 97 settlement agreements with Internet payday lenders and their collection agencies resulting in approximately $1.9 million in refunds and canceled debts for 6,887 West Virginia consumers.