Mark Corbett has settled with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — founded by Elizabeth Warren and then gutted by Trump appointee and awful person Mick Mulvaney, now the White House Chief of Staff — over the complaints that he ran an illegal loan-sharking operation that swindled veterans out of their pensions for a decade.
He has been fined $1.
Corbett was the agent for websites that offered to trade veterans' pensions and disability benefits for cash advances; veterans would redirect their pension direct-deposits to the companies' bank accounts and get a lump-sum in return. This is illegal. What's more, the companies insisted that they didn't have comply with the legal obligation on lenders to inform borrowers of the effective interest rates, because this wasn't a loan, "you are selling a product for a set price." This is also illegal.
Not only that, but the companies often stiffed the veterans, not paying them, or not paying them on time, and still kept their pensions.
Corbett claimed he couldn't afford to pay a fine, so the CFPB reduced his penalty to $1.
In a darkly hilarious denouement, CFPB left in all the boilerplate language included with larger fines. So the consent order intones that $1 dollar must be paid within 10 days of the effective date, and thereafter distributed to the Civil Penalty Fund to compensate victims of financial crimes. Mark Corbett is prohibited from taking a fat tax deduction for paying out that 100-cent penalty, and "to preserve the deterrent effect of the civil money penalty," he cannot use this greenback as an offset toward any future federal fines. And if Mark Corbett defaults on this four-quarter obligation, interest will accrue. The CFPB even asks for Mark Corbett's taxpayer ID number, so that they can track him down if he fails to cough up the 10 dimes he owes. The bureau reserves the right to send Mark Corbett into collections for the dollar, and report the delinquency to credit reporting bureaus.
Trump's CFPB Fines a Man $1 For Swindling Veterans, Orders Him Not to Do It Again [David Dayen/The Intercept]
(Image: JMSuarez, CC-BY)