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On February 22, the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina granted the CFPB’s motion for default judgment and appointment of receiver in an action alleging defendants violated the CFPA and TILA by falsely representing that their lump-sum pension advances were not loans and that they carried no applicable interest rate. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the Bureau filed a complaint against the defendants in 2018 claiming that consumers were actually required to pay back advances with interest and were charged various fees for the product. The Bureau also alleged, among other things, that the defendants failed to provide customers with TILA closed-end-credit disclosures, and provided income streams from the advance payments as 60- or 120-month cash flow payments to third-party investors, promising between 6 and 12 percent interest rates.
In its decision, the court upheld a magistrate judge’s report and recommendations, which concluded that the Bureau’s complaint sufficiently stated “a deception claim” under the CFPA, as well as violations of TILA and Regulation Z by the corporate defendants. The magistrate judge recommended that the court grant the Bureau “a permanent injunction to prevent future violations of the law,” redress and a civil money penalty awarded jointly and severally against the defendants, and appointment of a receiver. The court overruled various objections raised by the individual defendant’, including for failure to timely raise the objection before the magistrate judge, and because certain claims were without merit. Ultimately, the court granted the Bureau a default judgment against the defendants and adopted the report and recommendations of the magistrate judge for injunctive relief, consumer redress, a civil money penalty, and the appointment of a receiver.
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