Settlements with CashPoint and Approved Financial Result in Debt Cancellation for Thousands of Pennsylvanians
HARRISBURG – Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced a settlement with Kevin Williams and Mark Williams, owners of Dominion Management of Delaware, which operated as CashPoint, a now defunct auto title loan business. CashPoint made thousands of unlawful loans to Pennsylvania borrowers at annual interest rates exceeding 200%. As a result of this settlement, Kevin Williams and Mark Williams will refund more than $1.5 million in unlawful interest charges to consumers who fell victim to their scheme. These refunds are in addition to the $3.2 million in debt cancellation victims already received as a result of an October 2021 court order. AG Shapiro initially filed suit against the defendants in 2018 and 2020.
AG Shapiro reached a similar settlement with Florida-based auto title lender Approved Financial for alleged violations of Pennsylvania usury laws and unfair and deceptive business practices. Under the terms of the AVC, Approved Financial will cancel all outstanding loans made to Pennsylvania consumers. The company will also refund Pennsylvania consumers all fees and interest they paid, which will result in nearly 200 consumers receiving refunds in the amount of $99,541.
“Because they were based in Delaware and Florida, these defendants thought they could evade Pennsylvania laws,” said AG Shapiro. “But I don’t care where you are, if you exploit Pennsylvania consumers, you’re going to hear from my office. Today’s settlements hold CashPoint and Approved Financial accountable and puts other bad actors on notice.”
Title loans are high-cost installment loans that require the borrower to pledge a vehicle title as collateral. Since title loans are extremely expensive, consumers typically turn to title lenders when they are at their most vulnerable — like after losing a job or facing major medical expenses. Under Pennsylvania usury and racketeering laws, title loans are effectively prohibited because title lenders generally charge interest rates far above the Commonwealth’s 6 to 24 percent annual interest limit.
As part of the CashPoint settlement, Mark Williams and Kevin Williams are prohibited from knowingly participating in, owning, or working for any company that extends credit to Pennsylvania residents, for a period of seven years after they make their last payment under the settlement.
The settlements follow an important victory by the Office of Attorney General’s Civil Division in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on behalf of the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities. In that case, a third Delaware-based car title lender, TitleMax, had sued the Department of Banking, seeking an injunction to prevent the Department from investigating the loans TitleMax made to Pennsylvania residents. In January 2022, the Third Circuit ruled that Pennsylvania may investigate and apply its usury laws to TitleMax. The Court wrote, “Pennsylvania has a strong interest in prohibiting usury. Applying Pennsylvania’s usury laws to Title Max’s loans furthers that interest, and any burden on interstate commerce from doing so is, at most, incidental.”
The CashPoint settlement was filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas by Assistant Director for Consu;p[mer Financial Protection Nicholas Smyth.
The Approved Financial settlement was filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas by Senior Deputy Attorney General Debra Warring. The TitleMax litigation was handled by Senior Deputy Attorneys General Claudia Tesoro and Sean Kirkpatrick and Deputy Attorney General Alexander Korn.
Consumers who believe they have been taken advantage of by a similar car title lender should file a consumer complaint online or contact the Office of Attorney General by calling 1-800-441-2555 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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