West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw filed two new lawsuits on Wednesday as part of the state's effort to "halt the victimization" of West Virginia consumers by Internet payday lenders and their collection agencies, according to the office's Consumer Protection Division.
One of the suits names a series of interconnected corporations and individuals who jointly operated at least four Web sites making usurious payday loans to West Virginia consumers using the trade name "FFD Resources." McGraw's suit alleges that the FFD Resources firms have refused to comply with his investigative subpoenas and have continued to collect their unlawful loans in violation of a court order entered in 2007.
The FFD Resources Defendants include FFD Ventures, LP; DFD Ventures, LP; First Fidelity, Inc.; FFD Resources I, d/b/a Cash Supply; FFD Resources II, LLC, d/b/a Web Payday; FFD Resources III, LLC, d/b/a Payday Services; FFD Resources IV, LLC, d/b/a Payday Yes; FFD Resources IV, LLC, d/b/a Paper Check Payday; Great American Credit Management; Richard Clay; Jeanne Wint; Jaynes Hughes; and Ken Collom.
The second suit filed by McGraw's office 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.
According to McGraw, "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. While these companies offer quick and easy money, most consumers end up paying ten times the amount borrowed without ever paying off the loan."
The filing of these suits marks the latest actions taken by McGraw's office as part of his continuing investigation of the Internet payday lending industry, which began in 2005. Since that time, 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 combined for 6,887 West Virginia consumers.