Phony Payday Loan Brokers Settle FTC Charges

Defendants Will Be Banned From Credit-Related Businesses and Surrender Rolls Royce, Ferrari, and Other Assets

FOR RELEASE

July 11, 2014

The operators of a Tampa, Florida-based payday loan broker scheme have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they falsely promised to help consumers get loans, but instead used consumers’ personal financial data to take money from their bank accounts without their consent.

Claiming to be affiliated with a network of 120 potential payday lenders, defendants Sean C. Mulrooney and Odafe Stephen Ogaga, and five companies they controlled, misrepresented that 80 percent of all applicants got loans within an hour, according to the FTC’s complaint. In reality, the defendants did not lend money to consumers, and there is no evidence that they helped anyone in obtaining a loan.

According to the complaint, the defendants used consumers’ personal financial information it had collected through its websites to withdraw $30 from the bank accounts of tens of thousands of consumers, without authorization and without providing anything of value in return.

“These defendants deceived consumers to get their sensitive financial data and used it to take their money,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC will continue putting a stop to these kinds of illegal practices.”

The proposed settlement bans the defendants from:

  • marketing or providing any credit-related products or services, including loans, prepaid credit cards, debt-relief services, and credit repair services;
  • collecting, selling, or buying consumers’ personal and financial information, except in order to process a specifically authorized transaction; and
  • processing transactions using remotely created checks or remotely created payment orders.

The settlement imposes a $6.2 million judgment, which is equal to the defendants’ ill-gotten gains. The settlement requires Ogaga to surrender nearly all his assets: $50,000 in cash, and proceeds from the sale of his 2011 Rolls Royce Ghost, 2007 Lexus LS460, and 2006 Ferrari. Once he surrenders these assets, the remainder of the judgment against Ogaga will be suspended. The judgment against Mulrooney is entirely suspended, due to his inability to pay.

Also under the settlement, the defendants are prohibited from misrepresenting the terms and conditions of any service or product they market, and from charging consumers for anything without their consent. The settlement also requires the defendants to dispose of customer information that they have already collected and not to use, disclose, or benefit from, and it.

For more consumer information on this topic, see Online Payday Loans.

In addition to Mulrooney and Ogaga, the complaint named Caprice Marketing LLC; NuVue Partners LLC; Capital Advance LLC; Loan Assistance Company LLC; and ILife Funding, LLC, formerly known as Guaranteed Funding Partners LLC.

The Commission vote approving the proposed stipulated final order was 5-0. The FTC filed the order in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and the court entered it on July 1, 2014.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

CONTACT INFORMATION

MEDIA CONTACT:
Betsy Lordan
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-3707

STAFF CONTACTS:
James Davis and Elizabeth Scott
FTC Midwest Region
312-960-5611 or 312-960-5609

3 thoughts on “Phony Payday Loan Brokers Settle FTC Charges

  1. SFA Reporter says:

    At the FTC’s Request, Court Halts Alleged Phony Payday Loan Broker
    Consumer Losses Estimated at More Than $5 Million; Defendants Promised to Help People Find Loans, But Instead Just Debited Their Bank Accounts, FTC Alleges
    FOR RELEASE
    September 4, 2013
    TAGS: deceptive/misleading conduct Finance Internet commerce Finance Bureau of Consumer Protection Consumer Protection Credit and Finance Credit and Loans
    At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a U.S. district court has halted a Tampa, Florida-based operation that promised to help consumers get payday loans. Instead of loans, the defendants used consumers’ personal financial information to debit their bank accounts in increments of $30 without their authorization, the FTC alleged.

    Claiming to be affiliated with a network of 120 potential payday lenders, the defendants misrepresented that 80 percent of applicants got loans in as soon as one hour, according to the FTC. The court order freezes the defendants’ assets to preserve the possibility of providing redress to consumers.

    “Repeatedly, we’ve seen situations where consumers provide sensitive financial information when inquiring about a payday loan online, and that information falls into the wrong hands,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC is committed to shutting down these fraudulent operations.”

    The FTC alleged that defendants Sean C. Mulrooney and Odafe Stephen Ogaga and five companies they controlled used websites with the names Vantage Funding, Ideal Advance, Loan Assistance Company, Palm Loan Advances, Loan Tree Advances, Pacific Advances, and Your Loan Funding to collect consumers’ names, Social Security numbers, bank routing numbers, and bank account numbers, which allowed them to access consumers’ checking accounts.

    The defendants obtained other consumers’ financial information by paying more than $500,000 to third parties, and debited those consumers’ accounts without authorization as well, according to documents filed with the court. In all, the defendants victimized tens of thousands of consumers, taking more than $5 million from their bank accounts. Many of the victims were in difficult financial straits to begin with, and as an added insult, often began receiving harassing telemarketing and debt collection calls shortly after the defendants made their unauthorized withdrawals, according to the FTC. Consumers who complained to Defendants’ Philippines-based customer service agents were frequently offered refunds and $100 gasoline vouchers that never materialized, according to the FTC.

    Mulrooney and Ogaga apparently used proceeds from their allegedly illegal scheme to finance a lavish lifestyle. Mulrooney is the registered owner of a 2012 Maserati GranTurismo, while Ogaga owns a 2011 Rolls Royce Ghost and a 2006 Ferrari 430, according to documents filed with the court.

    This is the FTC’s third recent case involving allegedly fraudulent online payday-loan-related operations, and the first one in which the defendants claimed to broker payday loans. In two previous cases, American Credit Crunchers, LLC and Broadway Global Master Inc., the defendants allegedly attempted to collect on payday loan debts that either did not exist or weren’t owed to them.

    The complaint charges the defendants with violating the Federal Trade Commission Act by using unfair billing practices, and by misrepresenting that they will help consumers find a payday loan and use their personal and financial information to get the loan. The complaint also alleges that the defendants untruthfully claim four of five consumers who applied were approved for a payday loan.

    For more consumer information on this topic, see Online Payday Loans.

    In addition to Mulrooney and Ogaga, the Vantage Funding complaint names Caprice Marketing LLC; Nuvue Partners LLC; Capital Advance LLC; Loan Assistance Company LLC; and Ilife Funding, LLC, formerly known as Guaranteed Funding Partners LLC.

    The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the Vantage complaint was 4-0. The complaint and request for a temporary restraining order were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. On August 29, 2013, the court granted the FTC’s request.

    NOTE: The Commission a files complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The case will be decided by the court.

    The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

    CONTACT INFORMATION
    MEDIA CONTACT:
    Betsy Lordan
    Office of Public Affairs
    202-326-3707
    STAFF CONTACT:
    James Davis, Elizabeth Scott
    FTC Midwest Region
    312-960-5611, 312-960-5609

  2. Jeanne Vanderstappen says:

    Would you please provide me a list of non fraudulent online personal loans for bad credit so I can apply for a online loan? I am a Disabled Woman and I have undergone significant fraud over the last 8 months for over $35,000.00.

    Who can I speak with and file a complaint with all of the information I have collected with to provide names, receipts of required payments for “Taxes” for the winning of the Sweepstakes, and all the names involved.

    They have left me without money, my phone was turned off, I am being evicted with no place to go, and I will have to live on the Streets because I can not find a place to go. He forced me to pay him money and told me he would repay it! He also sent me several Guarantee Emails that I would received the prize if I paid the last $1500.00.

    I was forced to pay that plus more…I have about $6.00 left in money and have to move or pay my rent by 12/20/14. I would like to see these Fraudulent People captured or Identified to prevent it from happening to someone else.
    Thank you,
    Jeanne Vanderstappen

    My Email is jeannemv08@yahoo.com. My phone is (760) 216-4022 but it has been disconnected due to lack of payment. Please Email me> Thank you and Sincerely, Jeanne Vanderstappen

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