At least six federal agencies including the Justice and Treasury departments are coordinating a broad probe of online payday lenders that charge enormous interest and fees to low-income borrowers who need quick cash. The Justice Department and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have sent civil subpoenas to dozens of financial companies, including merchant cash advance litigator california online lenders, many of which divorce settlement cash advance located on Indian reservations to avoid complying with consumer protection laws.
Also subpoenaed were banks and payment processors that do business with them, according to government and industry officials familiar with the probe. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it. The government is using a range of tools - anti-money laundering laws, routine oversight of banks books, subpoenas and state laws - that could snuff out an entire category of lenders who contend they are operating lawfully.
Among those involved: Justices Civil Division; the CFPB; the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. ; the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; the Treasurys Financial Crimes Enforcement Network; and attorneys general and financial regulators from several states.
The probe involves so many industry players that a half-dozen major law firms contacted by the Center for Public Integrity were unable to comment publicly because they are representing banks, lenders, payments companies, marketers and others that are wrapped up in the multi-pronged investigation. The probe appears to be coordinated by the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, a working group originally created by President Barack Obama to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes and other violations relating to the current financial crisis and economic recovery efforts.
The merchant cash advance litigator california force is led by the Justice Department and includes more than two dozen federal and state regulators and law enforcement entities.
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