Sommers Schwartz attorneys Lance Young and Rod Johnston obtained a $1,037,328.88 default judgment in a consumer protection case alleging false advertising and deceptive sales practices intended to dupe retired and disabled military veterans.
According to the class action lawsuit, Future Income Payments, LLC (FIP) engaged in predatory lending and RICO violations by fraudulently soliciting cash advance “sales” to veterans when, in reality, the transactions were loans with exorbitant and unlawful interest rates. Calling the product a “lump sum,” “pension buyout,” or “pension advance,” FIP instructed its employees to avoid using the term “loan” to perpetuate the illegal scheme.
The unwitting plaintiffs were forced to repay the money in installments over a set period at rates ranging from 27 to 106 percent. Not only was the lump sum each plaintiff received significantly less than the amount they had to repay, but they were subject to late fees, possible criminal fines or imprisonment, and potential legal fees and costs if FIP pursued claims against them.
FIP moved to the dismiss the case a month after the plaintiffs initiated their lawsuit. The court denied the motion, and seven months later, FIP and its sole owner stipulated that they did not intend to defend themselves further. The plaintiff’s moved for a default judgment, which the court granted, ordering that the defendants pay $1,037,328.88, which included actual damages, treble damages, and civil penalties.