Attorney General Hardy Myers and Director Mary C. Neidig of the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) today announced the filing of a stipulated judgment against a Bend "payday" loan operation, A 1 Cash Advance, and its owner Tim Stroud, also known as Tim Loren. The judgment was filed Wednesday in Deschutes County Circuit Court.
The short term personal loan lender was closed down February 1 after the Oregon Department of Justice on behalf of DCBS obtained a temporary restraining order and filed a lawsuit against Stroud and his business.
"Oregon customers who were unlawfully charged for interest on their loans will receive refunds and the unlicensed activity has been corrected, " Myers said. "The defendants were stopped from collecting on debts that were the direct result of illegal activity."
DCBS and Justice investigators found that A 1 Cash Advance was once licensed to make loans and do business in Oregon but cancelled the license and refused to renew it. County records revealed that in the last two years, the defendants had filed 153 cases against its customers for delinquent loans, in which the interest rates ranged from 400 to 500 percent.
"The settlement provides a mechanism for Oregonians to receive refunds of the interest payments illegally charged by A 1 Cash Advance when it was open and not licensed. In addition, licensing the defendants will allow us to monitor their lending practices and ensure that the company and its owner are complying with all of the laws and regulations related to lending money in Oregon," DCBS Licensing Manager Jim Krueger said. Krueger's office licenses non-depository lenders and is part of the Division of Finance and Corporate Securities of DCBS.
The judgment requires A 1 Cash Advance to refund interest paid on loans made by the company between December 17, 1999 and January 31, 2002. Interest is the $20 per $100 fee charged to borrowers and does not include any other charge such as court costs or bad check charges.
The defendants must pay $5,000 to DCBS to repay some of its enforcement costs, to reimburse some consumer witnesses who appeared at the preliminary injunction hearing, and to provide $1,000 to fund Bend Legal Aid Services.
Customers must file refund applications with DCBS no later than 5 p.m. on April 15, 2002 and refund distributions will be made on a "first come, first served" basis as money payments are made by A 1 over the next year. Refund applications are available at the A 1 Cash Advance office at 2669 NE Twin Knolls Road, Suite 206, in Bend or by calling toll-free 1-866-814-9710. Forms also are online at www.oregondfcs.org. Applications should include the date(s) of each loan or loan renewal and copies of all loan documents including canceled checks, if available.
Oregonians may check on the licenses of lenders by calling DFCS toll-free at 1-866-814-9710 or online at www.oregondfcs.org. Consumers wanting information on all consumer issues may call the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Corson, DCBS, (503) 947-7868