LANSING, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office has filed 21 charges against two out-of-state racketeers for their roles in a scheme that used more than 190 illegal vehicle loans to cash in on $258,000 from Michigan borrowers.
Nessel announced the news Monday.
“The Michigan Attorney General’s Office will not allow out-of-state businesses to take advantage of Michigan consumers,” Nessel said. “All companies that want to do business with our consumers will be held to the same laws and standards, regardless of where they are located.”
William McKibbin, 39, of Stowe, Vermont, and Mark Weiner, 66, of Delray Beach, Florida, were each charged with the following:
– One felony count of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise – a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and/or $100,000 fine;
– 10 felony counts of False Pretenses, $1,000 or more but less than $20,000 – a maximum sentence of five years in prison and/or $10,000 fine, or three times the value of the money or property involved (whichever is greater); and
– 10 felony counts of Usury – punishable by five years in prison and/or $10,000.
The Michigan Attorney General’s investigation revealed that McKibbin and Weiner managed online title loan entity Autoloans, LLC, which collected illegal proceeds from Michigan residents despite receiving three separate cease-and-desist orders from the 30th Circuit Court between 2015 and 2016 and numerous other court orders from various jurisdictions.
At one point, the criminal enterprise was estimated to have more than $20 million in outstanding loans and conducted business in Michigan without proper licensing, often charging exorbitant interest rates that reached 200 percent, with an average loan amount of $1,500.
In addition to the charges against McKibbin and Weiner, Autoloans LLC itself was charged with the same crimes and entered into a settlement with the Attorney General’s Office late last month. The settlement established a restitution fund of $1.6 million to reimburse affected Michigan residents in a three-tiered reimbursement system:
– Tier One claimants will not receive payment if the individual made payments totaling less than the principle amount of their loans or if their vehicles have not been repossessed by Autoloans;
– Tier Two claimants will be reimbursed any amount over the principal amount of their loan if their vehicles were not repossessed; and
– Tier Three claimants will be reimbursed fair market value of their vehicle and any (verified) payments made to Autoloans that were over the principal amount of their loans if their vehicles were repossessed.
Autoloans LLC no longer operates in Michigan or in the United States.
McKibbin was arraigned late Friday before Kent County 61-A District Court Judge Jeanine LaVille. A probable cause conference is scheduled for July 23, followed by a preliminary exam on July 30.
Weiner was arraigned on June 6 by Kent County 61-A District Court Judge Kimberly Schaefer. A probable cause conference is scheduled for August 8 before Kent Count 61-A District court Judge Buter.
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