Look out, the stranger on the phone warned. They’re coming for you.

[Read the story]

Update: Federal, state and local authorities are cracking down on the merchant cash advance industry in response to this story and the rest of the series I wrote with Zachary Mider. The U.S. Senate and House proposed bills, several New York State lawmakers called for a ban and the New York Attorney General started an investigation. New York’s mayor also called for a review of the marshal program. Some clerks stopped processing confessions of judgment.

[Read about the latest proposals here.]

Awards: Winner of the Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Journalism from the Nieman Foundation. Finalist for National Magazine Award for reporting. Winner of Gerald Loeb Award. Winner of American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel award. Finalist for Scripps Howard award for business reporting. Winner of a SABEW Best in Business award. Merit award for investigative reporting from the Society of the Silurians. Second place in National Headliner Awards. Winner of New York State Society of CPAs award for excellence in financial journalism. Winner of a National Press Club award.



One comment

  1. Matt in Erie.PA

    Eye opening series. Terrific read. How the vultures like to prey on the weak and vulnerable and then swoop in for the kill! Lack of access to capital by traditional lenders is what is stifling American business right now. Even consumer borrowers are plagued by high interest rate credit cards that charge extreme interest rates. The bankers always want to sock it to you with high interest rates but nothing like these thieves. It’s time to put a halt to the laws that enable these type of lenders to seize the assets of their “borrowers” without recourse. It seems as if your series has caught the attention of the State lawmakers and have set the wheels in motion to legislate this type of legal travesty out of existence.
    Note: I am a former collections manager for a “consumer finance company”. 92% of our customers paid their accounts. The 5% who did not were the hardcore cases, the stiffs, the alkies + druggies and criminal types and gamblers. When no one else would lend these people money, we would. These were great people, but they had one thing in common, they were poor people on limited income. Our rates were high; 28.74% pre-computed rule of 78 loans written for 4 years so whatever the amount you borrowed you would pay back double over the 4 year term of the loan.. You borrow $2k, you ended paying back 4k but this kept the payment affordable. Also, we did not report to the credit reporting agencies unless you were severely behind, other that they were open and paying as agreed.

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