BALTIMORE (WMAR) — Maryland's Attorney General on Friday cracked down on a pawn broker accused of illegally handing out and collecting on consumer loans.
Brent M. Jackson, and his businesses “Cash-N-Go” allegedly offered short-term loans with a drastic interest rate of 360%, while using the customers vehicle as collateral.
Cash-N-Go would keep the title to the vehicle, and would repossess or sell it if the loan payments weren't made.
The business claimed the transactions were pawn related, but the Attorney General disagreed, saying such loans must comply with Maryland’s consumer loan licensing requirements and interest rate caps.
The problem is, Jackson and his companies were never licensed by the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation to make consumer loans in Maryland.
On top of that, the Attorney General say Cash-N-Go charged over 10 times the state’s maximum legal interest rate of 33%.
The Attorney General now says all Cash-N-Go’s loans are void and not enforceable. Cash-N-Go is prohibited from collecting any money, interest, or liens tied to customers vehicles that they have the title to. They also have to return any previously re-possessed vehicles, and pay over $ 2.2 million in restitution to their customers along with a $1,200,750 penalty to the State.
“The Cash-N-Go companies and their owner, Brent Jackson, preyed on Maryland consumers in financial distress,” said Attorney General Frosh. “Jackson victimized vulnerable people for his personal financial benefit. He made predatory loans. He illegally repossessed cars that consumers depended on for work, for doctors appointments and for transporting their kids. This Order bars Jackson and Cash-N-Go from harming other Maryland consumers.”
Cash-N-Go can still continue as a check cashing business or a pawn broker, but cannot issue or collect money on title loans.
At least 1,601 customers were affected.