Martin Webb d/b/a Western Sky Financial, LLC

News Release

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Contact

Lyn Peters, Director of Communications
PH (360) 902-8731 lyn.peters@dfi.wa.gov

Deb Bortner, Director Division of Consumer Services
PH (360) 902-0511 deb.bortner@dfi.wa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:


Washington DFI Issues Statement of Charges Against Five Unlicensed Online Lenders, Including Western Sky Financial

DFI seeks restitution, prohibition from operating in Washington State, $669,300 in fines

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI)Consumer Services Division announced today they have filed a Statement of Charges against the following five unlicensed on-line lenders owned and operated by Martin Webb d/b/a Western Sky Financial, LLC;

    1. Payday Financial, LLC, d/b/a Big Sky Cash
    2. Lakota Cash;
    3. Great Sky Finance, LLC, d/b/a Great Sky Cash
    4. Green Billow, LLC, d/b/a Four Seasons Cash;
    5. Red Stone Financial, LLC, d/b/a Red Stone Cash

These unlicensed lenders, located on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Indian Reservation within the state of South Dakota, are owned and operated by Martin Webb as an individual tribal member rather than by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe or any of its political subdivisions. These unlicensed lenders have made thousands of loans to Washington state residents online at rates that would be illegal even if the entities held licenses from DFI as the maximum rate of interest allowed under RCW 19.52, the state of Washington’s usury statute, is 12 percent. The maximum rate of interest allowed for licensees under the Consumer Loan Act is 25 percent. The interest rates actually being charged by these companies included rates upwards of 89.68 percent to 1,825 percent. Having received at least 22 complaints against these entities from Washington residents, DFI issued a consumer alert in August 2011 warning consumers that Western Sky Financial and Lakota Cash were not licensed to make loans in Washington.

“These companies are preying on financially struggling Washington consumers with loans at unconscionable repayment terms,” DFI Director of Consumer Services Deborah Bortner explained. “For example, when a borrower takes out a $2,600 loan from Western Sky and follows the proposed repayment schedule, it takes that borrower four years to repay the loan and costs $14,000 in interest. That is just not right. It is no wonder that complaints from our consumers continue to roll in.”

Recently, at least four other states, including Colorado, Maryland, Missouri and Florida, have taken legal action against these entities for making loans without a license and rates of interest violating the various state interest rate limits, and the Federal Trade Commission has taken legal action against these entities alleging illegal collection practices.

Note: The Consumer Loan Act authorizes the Director to file charges against companies and individuals believed to have violated the Act. The charges are not a finding or order that the respondents have actually violated the Act; all named respondents have the right to request an administrative hearing on the charges. To verify whether a company offering loans is licensed by DFI, go to www.dfi.wa.gov and click on the “Verify License” link. To file a complaint against a company you have done business with, go to www.dfi.wa.gov and click on the “File A Complaint” link.


About DFI
www.dfi.wa.gov ▪ 360.902-8700 ▪ 877.746-4334
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions regulates a variety of financial service providers such as banks, credit unions, mortgage brokers, consumer loan companies, payday lenders and securities brokers and dealers. The department also works to improve financial education throughout Washington through its outreach programs and online clearinghouse www.dfi.wa.gov/financial-education. In addition to posting information about licensees and administrative actions, DFI uses the Web and social media to provide financial education information:

  1. http://www.twitter.com/FinEd4All
  2. www.twitter.com/DFIConsumers
  3. www.finlit.blogspot.com
  4. www.youtube.com/user/WADFI
  5. www.homeownership.wa.gov

About Division of Consumer Services
www.dfi.wa.gov/cs ▪ 360.902-8703
The mission of the Division of Consumer Services is to protect consumers from illegal and fraudulent lending practices. The division accomplishes its mission through licensing, licensee examinations, investigations, and enforcing selected state and federal statutes and rules. Consumer Services regulates the business activities of consumer loan companies, mortgage brokers, money transmitters and currency exchangers, as well as check cashers and sellers, also known as “payday lenders.” The Division is entirely self-supporting, with funding provided by licensing, auditing, and policing of regulated businesses and individuals. No money is received from the state General Fund or other public revenue source.

3 thoughts on “Martin Webb d/b/a Western Sky Financial, LLC

  1. SFA Reporter October 25, 2012 at 9:25 pm Reply

    Impact Cash, LLC (d/b/a http://www.impactcashusa.com and a/k/a Payday Financial, LLC, a/k/a Lakota Cash, a/k/a Big Sky Cash, a/k/a Big $ky Cash, a/k/a Great Sky Finance, LLC, a/k/a Great Sky Cash, a/k/a GSky, a/k/a Western Sky Financial, LLC, a/k/a Red Stone Financial, LLC, a/k/a Red Stone Cash, a/k/a Management Systems, LLC, a/k/a 24-7 Cash Direct, LLC, a/k/a Financial Solutions, LLC, a/k/a PDL Ventures d/b/a Spot on Loans, a/k/a High Country Ventures, LLC, a/k/a PDL Technologies, and a/k/a Red River Ventures, LLC), and Martin A. Webb

  2. […] « Martin Webb d/b/a Western Sky Financial, LLC […]

  3. SFA Reporter October 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm Reply

    For Release: 09/12/2011
    FTC Action Halts Allegedly Illegal Tactics of Payday Lending Operation That Attempted to Garnish Consumers’ Paychecks
    After the Federal Trade Commission filed an action in U.S. district court, a payday lender that allegedly attempted to illegally garnish consumers’ wages has agreed to stop the challenged conduct pending trial.

    As part of its continuing crackdown on scams that target consumers in financial distress, the FTC complaint alleges that Payday Financial, LLC, doing business as Lakota Cash and Big Sky Cash, along with other defendants, illegally attempted to garnish consumers’ wages without obtaining a court order, to collect payments on payday loans. As a result, the defendants illegally revealed consumers’ supposed debts to their employers and deprived consumers of their right to dispute the debts or make payment arrangements, the FTC alleges.

    According to the FTC, defendant Martin A. Webb operates Payday Financial, LLC, and several related businesses in Timber Lake, South Dakota. The defendants offer short-term, high-fee, unsecured payday loans of $300 to $2,525 to consumers throughout the country, advertising on television and through websites such as http://www.bigskycash.com and http://www.westernsky.com.

    The FTC complaint alleges that when a consumer does not pay back a payday loan on time, the defendants send documents to his or her employer that mimic those used by federal agencies collecting debts owed to the government in an attempt to garnish the consumer’s wages. Under federal law, the government can directly require employers to garnish wages for debts it is owed without a court order. But private creditors must obtain a court order before garnishing a debtor’s wages. The complaint charges the defendants with violating the FTC Act by:

    misrepresenting to employers that the defendants are legally authorized to garnish an employee’s wages, without first obtaining a court order;
    falsely representing to employers that the defendants have notified consumers about the pending garnishment and have given them an opportunity to dispute the debt; and
    unfairly disclosing the existence and the amounts of consumers’ supposed debts to employers and co-workers without the consumers’ knowledge or consent.
    The complaint further alleges that the defendants have violated the FTC’s Credit Practices Rule by requiring consumers taking out payday loans to consent to have wages taken directly out of their paychecks in the event of a default, and have violated the Electronic Funds Transfer Act and Regulation E by requiring authorization for electronic payments from their bank account as a condition of obtaining payday loans.

    The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint was 5-0. The FTC filed the complaint and a request for preliminary relief in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota, Central Division on September 6, 2011. The complaint names as defendants Payday Financial, LLC, Great Sky Finance, LLC, Western Sky Financial, LLC, Red Stone Financial, LLC, Financial Solutions, LLC, Management Systems, LLC, 24-7 Cash Direct, LLC, Red River Ventures, LLC, High Country Ventures, LLC, and Martin Webb. On September 7, 2011, the parties agreed to a stipulated preliminary injunction to immediately halt the alleged unlawful conduct, and the court accepted and entered the stipulated preliminary injunction. The FTC would like to acknowledge the assistance of the South Dakota U.S. Attorney’s Office.
    NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendant has actually violated the law.
    The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and
    unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call
    1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel,
    a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement
    agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety
    of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

    MEDIA CONTACT:
    Betsy Lordan
    Office of Public Affairs
    202-326-3707
    STAFF CONTACT:
    LaShawn Johnson
    Bureau of Consumer Protection
    202-326-3224
    (FTC File No. 1123023)
    (Payday Financial NR)

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