LAS VEGAS (CN) - Three men accused of helping tribal payday lenders defraud consumers settled federal charges Tuesday by agreeing to permanent injunctions and fines.
The settlements are part of a continuing federal effort to crack down on payday lenders that claim they are not bound by FTC regulations because they have affiliations with Native American tribes.
U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro permanently enjoining Don E. Brady, attorney Troy L. LittleAxe Jr., and Robert D. Campbell from engaging in lending fraud. All three men's cases involved AMG Services, of Oklahoma, and other lenders.
Navarro also ordered Brady to pay $71,677 and LittleAxe $25,000 to the Federal Trade Commission.
Brady was AMG Services' chief executive and administrator of the payday lending websites ameriloan.com, unitedcashloans.com, and usfastcash.com.
Campbell was an officer of co-defendant SFS, which is owned by the Santee Sioux Nation of Nebraska, and ran the lending website oneclickcash.com.
LittleAxe was the registered agent of co-defendant Red Cedar Services and administrator of lending website 500fastcash.com, both of which are owned by the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma.
The three men and the FTC jointly filed motions to settle charges involving a national payday lending scheme the FTC says was run by AMG Services and MNE Services, which are owned and chartered by the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, and other co-defendants.
Without admitting or denying guilt, the two lenders on Jan. 15 agreed to pay $21 million to the FTC and waive $285 million in uncollected charges allegedly owed by consumers across the nation.
The FTC said the $21 million recovery was the largest ever in a payday lending case.
The FTC in April 2102 accused the tribal lenders and others of violating the Truth in Lending Act and Electronic Fund Transfer Act by charging undisclosed and inflated fees on payday loans.
The lenders misrepresented the amount loans would cost, for instance, telling consumers a $300 loan would cost $390 to pay off, but charging them $975.
Because the lenders are affiliated with the Miami Tribe, they claimed they were not subject to FTC regulation.
But Judge Navarro ruled in March 2014 that they are subject to FTC oversight and enforcement.
Navarro on Tuesday permanently enjoined Brady , LittleAxe , and Campbell from misrepresenting or helping others to misrepresent payment schedules, amounts owed, prepayment penalties, interest rates, finance charges and fees on loans.
Navarro also permanently enjoined them from concealing finance charges, annual percentage rates, payments schedules and total payments when loaning money to consumers, and from violating any provision of the Truth in Lending Act.
Navarro ordered them to submit compliance reports and cooperate with the FTC during its continued investigation into the case, which has other actions pending in other federal courts.
She also granted an FTC motion to allow U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Kane to practice law in Nevada to participate in the ongoing payday lender case and other matters .
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