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Attorney General Sam Olens Intervenes to Stop Illegal Payday Lending in Georgia

PRESS ADVISORY

Attorney General Sam Olens Intervenes to Stop Illegal Payday Lending in Georgia

May 18, 2012

At the urging of Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens’ office, Payday Financial, LLC, Green Billow, LLC and Western Sky Financial, LLC, payday lenders which claim to be Native American owned and operated, have agreed to cease making loans in Georgia.  The Attorney General’s office alleges that the companies made illegal payday loans in Georgia through websites they operate.  Georgia law specifically prohibits the making of payday loans, including the making of payday loans to Georgia residents through the internet (O.C.G.A. § l6-17-1, et seq). 

According to the Federal Trade Commission, Martin A. Webb operates Payday Financial, LLC, and several related businesses in Timber Lake, South Dakota.  The entities offer short-term, high-fee, unsecured payday loans of $300 to $2,525 to consumers throughout the country, advertising on television and through websites. 

The businesses purport to be “wholly Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Member owned…operating within the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.”  Although, attorneys for Mr. Webb claim that the companies are exempt from Georgia law due to tribal (sovereign) immunity, the Attorney General’s office has made clear that when a company conducts business in Georgia, Georgia law applies.

“When it comes to payday lending in Georgia, there is no gray area.  It is unquestionably illegal in any form,” said Attorney General Sam Olens.  “We will not stand for unscrupulous, out-of-state lenders taking advantage of Georgia consumers by skirting our laws.”

“The Attorney General’s timely and decisive action resulted in this entity ceasing to do business in our state,” said Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection Administrator John Sours.  “We are pleased that Georgia consumers will benefit and look forward to ridding our state of all such illicit operators.”