Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Morrisey Seeks Millions from Online Lender

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Morrisey Seeks Millions from Online Lender

Article excerpt

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is seeking to hire a lawyer licensed in California to help collect a $13.8 million judgment against a loan company that charged exorbitant interest rates and harassed borrowers. Nearly 300 West Virginians who borrowed money from online lender CashCall Inc. - now called CashCall Mortgage - are awaiting refunds and restitution. Some people stand to receive tens of thousands of dollars, court documents show. CashCall, based in Orange, California, has refused to pay the judgment after exhausting all appeals.

Morrisey solicited bids for outside lawyers so his office could "obtain recognition and recoup the multimillion-dollar judgment against CashCall in California, according to the Attorney General's Office bid request. Lawyers have until Aug. 7 to submit bids for the work.

"Once the U.S. Supreme Court in May ended the company's appeals process in this case, our office has been working to secure this judgment in the most effective way possible, said Jared Hunt, Morrisey's press secretary, in an email to the Gazette-Mail. "Since CashCall is headquartered in California, and that is likely where most of the company's assets are located, we are requesting bids from attorneys licensed to practice law in that state in order to pursue and enforce the judgment through the California legal system.

Morrisey inherited the CashCall case from former Attorney General Darrell McGraw. McGraw's office sued CashCall, accusing the company of using a South Dakota bank to circumvent West Virginia's usury laws.

CashCall allegedly charged interest rates up to 99 percent and later harassed borrowers with abusive debt-collection practices. Under West Virginia law, consumer loans are capped at 18 percent interest. Investigators with the Attorney General's Office said some consumers received as many as 1,000 phone calls during one CashCall debt collection campaign.

The Attorney General's Office previously handled the CashCall lawsuit using in-house lawyers from its Consumer Protection Division. …

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