The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau imposed a $69 million judgment Friday against a payday lending group that the bureau said defrauded consumers.
The agency's settlement with Robert Moseley Sr. and Robert Moseley Jr. was enforced by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. In November, the elder Moseley was convicted for several charges related to the business. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in June.
Under the CFPB settlement, the father and son agreed to forfeit roughly $14 million in assets and pay a $1 civil money penalty to the bureau, according to the consent order filed in the U.S. District Court. The CFPB said it agreed to suspend the $69 million judgment "in light of the defendants' limited ability to pay."
The CFPB alleged that the defendants operated a maze of 20 corporate entities including Hydra Financial that extended $227.7 million in fraudulent loans to "hundreds of thousands" of customers, and collected roughly $69.6 million in gross profits since 2008.
The CFPB said the lenders obtained consumers’ sensitive personal and financial information from third-party data brokers, and used that information to access consumers’ bank accounts without authorization. Consumers often were not even aware of the loans until they were deposited and finance charges were withdrawn, the bureau said.
In June, the elder Moseley was found guilty by a New York jury of racketeering, wire fraud and identify theft. Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney's office alleged that he ran a $220 million fraudulent payday loan operation with his son and a business partner, Christopher J. Randazzo. The group operated from 2004 to 2014, and originated loans with interest rates of more than 700%.
The companies, including SSM Group, PCMO Services and Piggycash Online Holdings, were based in Kansas City, but many were incorporated in New Zealand or in St. Kitts and Nevis.
The CFPB said consumers rarely received loan agreements and those that did found the written disclosures misrepresented the price terms and repayment obligations of the purported loan.
The consent order is the seventh enforcement action brought by the CFPB so far this year and the third action taken against a payday or installment lender.