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For Immediate Release
October 8, 2004
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

CONSUMER PROTECTION DIVISION ISSUES CEASE AND DESIST ORDER AGAINST LOAN COMPANY

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has issued a cease and desist order against a loan company for offering to provide loans without a license and taking advance payments without providing loans to consumers.

The Division has charged Justin Patterson and A1 Financial with advertising and offering loans to consumers without a license, accepting loan applications and taking advance payments from consumers without providing the loan or refunds of the payments. A1 listed its address as 1539 Merrit Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21222, but the money consumers paid was forwarded to Georgia.

The Division further alleged that Patterson and A1 Financial set up what appeared to be a Maryland loan company, with a Maryland business address and telephone number, and solicited consumers through advertisements placed in regional classified ad papers in other states. Consumers responded to the advertisements, filled out loan applications, provided personal information and sent deposits, in amounts ranging from $500 to $2000, to receive the loans. The charges allege that the consumers never received the loans or refunds of the deposits.

The Division’s ex parte order bars Justin Patterson and A1 Financial from acting or offering to act as a loan company and requires Patterson and A1 Financial to repay all of the money that it took from consumers for these advance fees.

" This company and this individual are taking advantage of consumers who are in financial trouble and vulnerable," said Curran. "When consumers see ads for fast cash and consumer loans in classified ads, consumers need to be aware that they could be the target of scam artists." Curran said consumers should be wary of anyone asking for money in advance in order to process the consumer’s loan. If the consumers are not dealing with a lending institution that they know, they should check to make sure that the lender that they are dealing with is licensed with the state Commissioner of Financial Regulation: (410) 230-6100.

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