Commonwealth of Virginia
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HERRING WINS $50 MILLION IN PENALTIES AND DEBT RELIEF FOR RETIRED VETERANS AND CIVIL SERVANTS TARGETED BY ILLEGAL LOANS
~ Future Income Payments ordered to wipe away $20 million in outstanding debt for more than 1,000 Virginia borrowers, faces $31.7 million in civil penalties ~
RICHMOND (November 15, 2018) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today announced that he has secured more than $50 million in debt relief and ordered civil penalties as a result of his lawsuit against Future Income Payments, LLC; FIP, LLC; and their owner, Scott Kohn (collectively, "FIP”) for making illegal, high-interest loans to more than 1,000 Virginia veterans and retirees in violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. The Court also found that FIP's agreements were "usurious,” meaning they carried illegally high interest rates, and issued an injunction preventing further violations of the Consumer Protection Act. Following Attorney General Herring's lawsuit, FIP shut down its predatory lending operations in Virginia and around the country.
"This is a really satisfying result because it represents the intersection of two of our biggest consumer protection priorities: combating predatory lending and protecting our veterans and military families,” said Attorney General Herring. "This ruling is going to wipe out millions in illegal charges for Virginians who fell victim to FIP's lies and exploitative loans. The civil penalties that were ordered also send a loud and clear message that companies who violate our laws and prey on financially vulnerable Virginians will be held to account, especially when they target our veterans.”
Attorney General Herring filed suit against FIP in March 2018 alleging the company had made a significant number of illegal loans that were believed to be concentrated in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, two areas of Virginia with large populations of retired veterans and civil servants with pensions.
The suit claimed that FIP disguised its illegal, high interest loans as "pension sales” that could provide Virginia pension holders with a quick lump sum of cash. The complaint cited the outrageous exploitation of one Virginia veteran who received a $5,500 loan from FIP and was required to pay $40,920 over five years.
The suit was filed in Hampton Circuit Court and heard by Judge Bonnie L. Jones who awarded the following:
- $20,098,159.63 in debt forgiveness for borrowers;
- $31,740,000.00 as a civil penalty;
- $414,473.72 in restitution;
- $198,000.00 for costs and attorneys' fees;
- Injunctive relief preventing FIP and Scott Kohn from further violating the VCPA;
- A declaration that FIP's agreements with Virginia consumers are usurious and illegal.
The lawsuit was handled by attorneys in the Predatory Lending Unit of Attorney General Herring's Consumer Protection Section, including Assistant Attorney General James Scott and Senior Assistant Attorney General David Irvin. Attorney General Herring's first-of-its kind Predatory Lending Unit investigates and prosecutes suspected violations of state and federal consumer lending statutes, including laws concerning payday loans, title loans, consumer finance loans, student loans, mortgage loans, and more.
Since 2014, Attorney General Herring's Consumer Protection Section has recovered more than $273 million in relief for consumers and payments from violators. Following a major reorganization and enhancement in 2016, the OAG's Consumer Protection Section has been even more effective in fighting for the rights of Virginians.
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