NEW YORK (MainStreet) — This might just give payday lenders a worse reputation. As if charging 400% interest for a typical loan wasn't bad enough, two operators of a Tampa, Fla.-based operation apparently didn't even bother to lend money -- but charged their customers a fee anyway.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says two defendants claimed to represent a network of 120 payday lenders that would usually issue loans within an hour. But the pair, Sean C. Mulrooney and Odafe Stephen Ogaga and the five companies they controlled, didn't lend a dollar or assist customers in obtaining a loan.
Instead Mulrooney and Ogaga tapped customers' personal information that was obtained through their company websites and withdrew $30 from tens of thousands of bank accounts, without authorization.
The proposed settlement bans the defendants and their companies, Caprice Marketing LLC; NuVue Partners LLC; Capital Advance LLC; Loan Assistance Company LLC; and ILife Funding, LLC, formerly known as Guaranteed Funding Partners LLC, from marketing or providing any credit-related products or services in the future.
The allegedly bogus loan brokers have agreed to settle the FTC charges, paying a $6.2 million judgment – a sum equal to the scam's total haul. Ogaga will surrender nearly all his assets, including $50,000 in cash, as well as proceeds from the sale of his 2011 Rolls Royce Ghost, 2007 Lexus LS460, and 2006 Ferrari. Once those assets are surrendered, the remainder of the judgment against him will be suspended. The judgment against Mulrooney was entirely suspended, due to "his inability to pay," says the FTC.
Also under the settlement, the defendants are prohibited from misrepresenting the terms and conditions of any service or product they market, and from charging consumers for anything without their consent. The settlement also requires the defendants to dispose of customer information that they have already collected.
--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet