Charles Hallinan de Villanova convicted in payday loan scandal


Of course, house arrest isn’t that bad when you have a house like this.

Left: Charles Hallinan outside the Philadelphia Federal Courthouse (AP Photo / Matt Rourke). Right: the spacious excavations of Hallinan in Villanova. (Google Maps)

It’s Giving Tuesday, so everyone is writing stories about who gives and what charities you can give to. But I thought it was a good time to tell you about a really greedy, really rich guy who took a lot of money from a lot of poor people.

by Villanova Charles Hallinan, a 76-year-old Wharton graduate was found guilty this week on all 17 counts against him in a racketeering case surrounding a series of payday loan companies he started. The charges included international money laundering and fraud, among other offenses.

Now, if you’ve never lived a paycheck after a paycheck, you might not know what a payday loan is. Basically some guy loans you $ 100 today and you pay it back on your next paycheck – sort of up front on your paycheck. You don’t need a house or a car as collateral for a payday loan. You just need a job.

Sounds pretty legal, right? Law. what illegal, however, charges very high interest rates – a practice known as usury – and Hallinan had that end of things to a science.

According to prosecutors, Hallinan would routinely get $ 30 for every $ 100 he loaned you, which in some cases was an annual percentage of nearly 780%. Additionally, if you were late with a payment, Hallinan would add additional fees, and some borrowers would end up paying more fees than the original loan amount itself. Not kosher.

Hallinan ran its payday loan program from 1997 to at least 2013 under business names such as Tele-Ca $ h, Cashnet, Paycheck Today and Instant Cash, most of which were headquartered at Bala Cynwyd. And he made a ton of money doing it. According to the Justice Department, Hallinan businesses have averaged $ 688 million in revenue from hundreds of thousands of borrowers.

And Hallinan came up with new ways to tackle the illegality of its entire business model.

According to court documents, Hallinan entered into “fictitious” partnerships with Native American tribes. He gave them money, the tribe agreed to serve as a front for the illegal loan company, and then when the long arm of the law came up and told the companies they were breaking the law by charging fees. exorbitant fees and interest rates, the tribes would declare their sovereignty: Your stinky usury laws don’t apply to us.

Apparently the jury didn’t believe it. Hallinan’s co-conspirator, Wheeler Neff,, of Wilmington, Delaware. In addition to the property holdings, authorities plan to seize three Mercedes and a Bentley Flying Spur from the two men.

Hallinan was released on $ 1 million bail and is under house arrest in his stately home in Villanova until his conviction in April.


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