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Consumers file RICO suit against Big Picture Loans over interest rates

Lawsuits

By Jenie Mallari-Torres | Jun 22, 2018


SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) – Residents of California, Ohio, Wisconsin and Texas allege an internet lending website is charging rates in excess of their respective state's usury laws.

Christine Cumming, Lamesha Kondo, Andrea Mendez and Tammy Wangeline filed a complaint on behalf of themselves and all individuals similarly situated on June 11 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against Big Picture Loans LLC, Matt Martorello and Ascension Technologies Inc. alleging violation of usury laws of several states and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs allege that the defendants are "hiding behind illegal usurpation of tribal authority" to operate a payday lending operation under the Lac Vieux Desert Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction against the defendants to prohibit them from lending or collecting loans in their home states.

The plaintiffs hold Big Picture Loans LLC, Matt Martorello and Ascension Technologies Inc. responsible because the defendants allegedly charged an interest rate far in excess of the enforceable rates in California, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin, causing them injury.

The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek judgment against defendants, certification of the class action, award of monetary and treble damages, interest, costs, expenses of suit, attorney's fees and further relief as the court deems just. They are represented by Hassan A. Zavareei, Anna C. Haac and Andrew J. Silver of Tycko & Zavareei LLP in Washington, D.C. and Tanya Koshy of Tycko & Zavareei LLP in Oakland, California.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California case number 5:18-cv-03476

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U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

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