New York Sues S.C.-Based Lender Over Predatory Practices
August 2, 2019
New York Attorney General Letitia James and New York Superintendent of Financial Services Linda A. Lacewell have filed a lawsuit in federal court against Columbia, S.C.-headquartered Vision Property Management LLC, its CEO Alex Szkaradek and affiliated companies for allegedly running an illegal and unlicensed mortgage lending business in New York since at least 2011.
The lawsuit accuses the companies and Szakaradek of offering approximately 150 predatory sub-prime home loans and illegal finance-lease hybrid agreements that were aimed at low-income borrowers across the state. The complaint alleges that Vision purchased severely distressed properties and then marketed these properties at a substantial markup without making repairs or renovations and without disclosing their rickety condition. As a result, the lawsuit stated, borrowers were stuck with broken down houses and sub-prime mortgages with interest rates in the range of 10 percent and 25 percent.
“For nearly a decade, Vision put profits above people—fraudulently targeting, preying upon, and exploiting aspiring homeowners, including people with disabilities, the elderly, and those living on fixed income,” said James. “These deceptive and abusive practices have trapped New Yorkers in mold-infested, dilapidated homes, and wrongfully placed the onus on consumers to pay the price. This behavior is unacceptable, which is why my office is aggressively prosecuting Vision and will do the same against any company or individual that tries to defraud New Yorkers.”
“As alleged in the complaint, Vision swindled vulnerable New Yorkers who wanted nothing more than the American dream of homeownership but instead got distressed properties with unsafe, squalid conditions and high-interest, predatory loans,” said Lacewell. “We took this action to protect New York consumers by putting an end to these illegal, predatory and unconscionable business practices and holding Vision and its CEO accountable under New York State law and applicable federal laws.”
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