Friday, June 03, 2016

Manhattan DA Scores Criminal Usury Guilty Plea From Online Payday Lender; Defendant Forks Over $3 Million, Agrees To Cough Up Add'l $6 Million In Forfeiture Proceeds; Two Others Also Admit Guilt For Roles In Excessively High-Interest Loan-Peddling Racket

From the Office of the New York County (Manhattan) District Attorney:
  • Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., announced the guilty pleas of CAREY VAUGHN BROWN, 57, as well as two companies he operated and controlled, CREDIT PAYMENT SERVICES, INC. (“CPS”) and MYCASHNOW.COM, INC. (“MYCASHNOW”), to Criminal Usury in the First Degree for engaging in a scheme to make multiple short-term, high-interest loans – known as “payday” loans – to Manhattan residents.

    As part of a plea agreement executed May 12, 2016, BROWN has already forfeited $3 million, and is bound by the terms of the agreement to pay an additional $6 million in forfeiture to victims. Under the terms set forth in a forfeiture order, a compensation fund will be set up by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s Asset Forfeiture Unit to compensate verified victims of BROWN’s payday lending scheme. BROWN is also required to perform 250 hours of community service under the plea agreement.
    In New York State, it is a crime for an unlicensed lender to charge more than 25 percent per annum interest on any loan less than $2.5 million.

    As part of his guilty plea, BROWN admitted that, between 2001 and 2013, he owned, controlled, or was the final decision-maker for MYCASHNOW, an online payday lender that, at BROWN’s direction, made loans to customers featuring an annual percentage rate of well over 25 percent. These loans were made around the country, including to customers in New York.
    Co-defendants RONALD BEAVER, 57, JOANNA TEMPLE, 60, previously pleaded guilty to Attempted Criminal Usury in the Second Degree on December 14 and December 17, 2015, respectively, for their roles in the payday lending scheme.

    BEAVER served as the chief operating officer and TEMPLE served as legal counsel for BROWN’s payday lending business; SCENIC CITY LEGAL GROUP, P.C., a company TEMPLE formed after deriving at least 90 percent of its business from BROWN’S payday organization, also pleaded guilty to Attempted Criminal Usury in the Second Degree.
Source: DA Vance Announces Guilty Pleas Of "Payday" Lenders For Criminal Usury Scheme (Three Individuals and Two Payday Lending Companies Convicted of Issuing or Attempting to Issue Short-Term Loans with Interest Rates Exceeding 300 Percent).