State reaches settlement with loan companies
The state of Indiana has reached a $250,000 settlement with a group of Indiana-based companies accused of providing “deceptive and unlicensed” personal loans to Hoosiers who were purchasing vehicles. Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita’s office said Monday the companies violated the Indiana Uniform Consumer Credit Code and Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act.
The defendants included Integrity Acceptance Corp., Integrity Acceptance LLC, and Empire Auto Group, both based in Indianapolis, and three individuals. Integrity Acceptance LLC is the in-house financing provider for Empire, according to the car dealership’s website.
Rokita’s office said Integrity provided personal loans to car buyers to finance taxes and down payments related to their vehicle purchases.
One of the companies, though it was not specified which one, did not have a required license from the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions, to originate and service such loans, and was also accused of other violations, such as contracting for charges in excess of the maximum allowable rate, misrepresenting finance charges and failing to disclose prepaid finance charges.
Per the terms of the settlement, the companies have agreed to forgive the loans totaling $223,685, pay consumer restitution totaling $33,991, and pay civil penalties and costs to the state totaling $33,000.
The other defendants in the settlement are Shawn Lessor, Amy Lair-Lessor and Brandi Pierson. The trio was also named in a 2015 lawsuit alleging the company they operated at the time, Circle City Auto Exchange Inc., committed violations of the violations of Indiana’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, according to the IBJ.
Rokita credited the collaboration with the DFI in helping reach the settlement.