Tom Normandin asks “What’s RICO?”
How About John Fuller and Portfolio Recovery Associates in the Same Room?
John Fuller was named to Portfolio Recovery Associates, Inc. (PRA) Board of Directors on March 1, 2010. Fuller brings to the table over $100 million in questionable judgments obtained in Marion Superior Court, Indiana along with some baggage he obtained from failed CARBIZ INC.
John Fuller is also Chairman of Dealer Services Corporation (DSC), a used car flooring lender headquartered in Carmel, Indiana. Both Fuller and David Michael Hockett claim to have founded DSC in 2005. Previously they both worked together at CITA, AFC and Auction Broadcasting Company.
DSC used their hometown Marion Superior Court Indiana to obtain judgments on nearly a thousand small used car dealers, ringing up over $100 million in default rulings. DSC complaints claimed criminal fraud against mostly unrepresented out-of- state used car dealers who were unable pay the 250% interest charged by DSC. With no attorneys to defend themselves in Indiana’s kangaroo court, the Marion Superior Court awarded DSC treble damages, with scant evidence of any criminality.
Portfolio Recovery Associates, Inc. (PRA) is a colossal debt collection company. They operate by purchasing old debts which are expired and legally outside the statue of limitations. The consumer may know this and not pay, but PRA threatens to send the consumer a 1099C and contact the IRS. PRA also receives a tax deduction.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koste sued PRA for scamming people who don’t owe money.
Other state agencies have turned a blind eye. In California, the Department of Corporations (DOC) was warned in early March 2008 by Michael Grissom, a victim of DSC, of their unlicensed lending. DSC immediately filed for a lending license with the DOC on April 1, 2008.
However, DOC attorneys aided DSC in obtaining lenders licenses, failing to report felony loan-sharking activity and violations of usury laws. The DOC collected $60, 000 from Dealer Services Corporation and signed an agreement not to assist victims caught up in DSC’s illegal lending activities. Records subpoenaed in Riverside were opposed as “not relevant” by DOC attorney John Drews. A subpoena served in separate conversion case against DSC in Orange County Superior Court was quashed by DOC’s senior counsel Doug Gooding, who personally appeared at Superior Court in Orange County to argue the motion.
The Securities and Exchange Commission watched as John Fuller, President of Dealer Services Corporation (DSC), and CARBIZ INC did some fuzzy math before CARBIZ ceased operations and turned over their assets February 12, 2010.
CARBIZ cited an Off-Balance Sheet Arrangement with DSC as the triggering event. On January 18, 2010, SEC Form 8-K states that DSC declared CARBIZ in default of their indebtedness of $16, 426, 810. The triggering arrangement was DSC’s monthly deferral fee of $350, 000, which amounted to 40% interest, paid to DSC for three months beginning August 2009.
SEC accounting Branch Chief Andrew Mew had earlier expressed concern when he wrote CARBIZ, requesting them to explain how they calculated 16.24% as the average effective interest rate in their debt to DSC.
CARBIZ responded to the SEC on November 12, 2009, claiming their debt to DSC was at a “global rate” of 12% interest: "Our effective interest rate may be more properly described as a global rate... the DSC debt has significant additional fees that are considered borrowing expenses... The SWC debt (now retired) and the DSC debt both have stated interest rates of 12%.”
CARBIZ also stated on Form 10-K/A filed December 1, 2009 that “We are not a party to any off balance sheet arrangements”. /s/Stanton Heintz