Title lender target of Va. suit

John O'Brien May 9, 2008, 10:57am


RICHMOND, Va. (Legal Newsline) - Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell says a title lender in his state charged illegal interest rates for more than two years and is seeking relief for its customers in court.

McDonnell on Thursday filed suit against the operators of Charlottesville-based Instant Cash Title Loans. He says NJG, Inc., and Nicholas Gianaokos violated the state's Consumer Finance Act.

"Virginia's consumer lending laws must be strongly enforced to ensure that borrowers receive legal protection in the marketplace," said McDonnell, a Republican preparing a run for Governor.

"I am pleased that our office has been able to move so quickly to address the alleged wrongdoing in this case."

McDonnell learned of the company after reading the Charlottesville publication "The Hook." He says the company charged more than the 12 percent annual interest allowed on consumer loans from June 2005-Dec. 2007.

The suit was filed in Richmond Circuit Court and asks all loans made by the company during the relevant period to be considered "null and void." He also seeks an amount equal to the aggregate of all principal and interest collected on the loans for the allegedly affected consumers.

If the company settles, it will be the seventh such settlement McDonnell has earned since June 2007.

From Legal Newsline: John O'Brien can be reached via e-mail at john@wvrecord.com.

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