DCA helps put a stop to Fast Cash
Investigation results in $1.2 million judgment against payday lender
that defrauded over 500 former customers
|DCA Investigator Maggie Becerra found evidence that Fast Cash defrauded consumers of over $300,000.
Thanks to an investigation by the County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), the California Attorney General recently received a large judgment against an unlawful payday lender.
Christoph Hoppe, who owned two payday-lender businesses called “Fast Cash”, was barred from making payday loans and ordered to pay close to $1 million in penalties to the state and over $300,000 in restitution to former customers.
DCA Supervising Investigator Maggie Becerra worked for over a year with Small Claims Court administrators and the office of State Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. to put together the case against Fast Cash, which also did business as Dejardin and Kampen.
Payday lenders give consumers a small cash advance on a future paycheck. They require the borrower to give them a post-dated check to secure the amount of the loan plus fees. If the check bounces, the payday lender can sue the borrower for only the amount of the check, plus $15 in fees. The law, however, prohibits payday lenders from suing customers for triple damages.
Fast Cash sued over 500 customers in Small Claims Court for triple the amount of the bounced checks plus fees. Consumers who borrowed $300 ended up with a judgment against them of over $1,200.
In Aug. 2006, the Attorney General’s office filed a $2-million-plus lawsuit against Fast Cash. On June 13, 2007, Attorney General Deputy Ben Diehl got a judgment against Fast Cash in California Superior Court.
- Permanently bars the Defendants from making payday loans.
- Voids and sets aside all Small Claims judgments the Defendants got against customers for more than the actual amount of the check. There are over 500 judgments of this type, totalling over $300,000.
- Requires the company to refund all monies collected in excess of the amount of the check.
- Ordered the Defendants to pay $927,500 in penalties.
- Ordered the Defendants to pay prosecution costs.
The Department of Consumer Affairs regularly investigates complaints of consumer fraud. When DCA discovers violations of the law, the department presents its findings to prosecuting agencies for criminal or civil prosecution.
Please see our information page for help with Payday Lenders.