From the details in a Pitch story out today, it appears that nooses are tightening around the necks of Tim Coppinger and some of his fellow payday loan operators.
The Pitch article was written and reported by David Hudnall, who has been all over this story since breaking it open late last year.
In today’s story he described the scene Sept. 10, when U.S. Marshals, local law enforcement officers, and a temporary receiver appointed by a federal judge entered the Mission offices of Coppinger’s business.
The story says:
“Larry Cook, the temporary receiver, ordered all employees present to step away from their desks. Photos and video were taken of the premises. Employees submitted to in-depth interviews and filled out questionnaires about their roles in the company. All items in the office that could contain information about the business — desktop computers, laptops, filing cabinets, phones — were seized.
“Tim Coppinger, whom investigators say owns CWB Services, was served papers informing him that the Federal Trade Commission had filed a civil lawsuit charging him with operating a payday-lending scheme. Every bank account on which Coppinger was a signatory — CWB Services accounts, other business accounts, his personal accounts, his family members’ accounts — was frozen.”
Authorities also changed the locks at a Prairie Village office from which a guy named Ted Rowland (full name, Frampton T. Rowland III) allegedly assisted Coppinger.
At yet a third venue, in Waldo, “the feds were unplugging computers and confiscating documents at the headquarters of the Hydra Group, a separate payday-lending scheme.” The Pitch said that the operators of that business — Richard F. Moseley Sr., Richard F. Moseley Jr. and Christopher Randazzo — “suddenly found their credit cards not functioning.”
I don’t know about you but I find all that satisfyingly funny: The scammers, who had probably convinced themselves they could outsmart the law, got their noses tweaked. And they’re probably not going to be breathing through their nostrils for quite a while.
The “raids” took place because federal government agencies filed civil lawsuits against the two operations — Coppinger/Rowland and Moseley/Moseley/Randazzo — alleging that they were breaking several federal laws and harming consumers. (I emphasize that these are civil lawsuits, which could involve fines, restitution and closure orders, but no jail or prison time.)
The defendants were caught unawares because a U.S. District Court judge had sided with the agencies’ contention that giving advance notice of the lawsuits to the defendants would give them a chance to transfer and conceal their assets.
So, this was a surprise party where, I’m sure, Tim Coppinger and the others didn’t break out the hats and hooters.
Now, I don’t know anything about any of the defendants except Coppinger. As I said in my previous post, I have never met him, to the best of my knowledge, but I do know his parents, who are mainstay parishioners at Visitation Catholic Church.
When I first heard from a couple of neighbors that Tim Coppinger and two members of another standout Visitation family — Vince and Chris Hodes — were involved in the payday loan business, I could hardly believe it. but then I started seeing the stories in the Pitch and later The Star.
Maybe I’m naive, but I’m still kind of dumbfounded. I do not understand why these boys (and they are still boys to me; I’m essentially of their parents’ generation) would go down that road, when there were plenty of other ways they probably could have made good money, given their educations and family names. Their alleged actions also fly in the face of Catholic doctrine, which holds that Catholics have an obligation to reach out and help the poor.
But, like I said in my previous post, greed is one of Seven Deadly Sins…and it didn’t make the list by default.
In a Sept. 15 article in The Star, federal courts reporter Mark Morris, told readers just how lucrative this payday lending business can be:
“Those companies (Coppinger’s and Rowland”s) allegedly made about $28 million in payday loans over one 11-month period, “extracting” more than $46.5 million in return, according to federal court records.”
The lawsuit naming Coppinger and Rowland alleged that “defendants’ tactics serve the single purpose of bilking cash-strapped consumers out of as much money as possible.”
I just don’t know how you rationalize that. But if you’re a Coppinger or a Hodes you have to rationalize it because if you were honest about it, you would rain shame down not only on yourselves but on your families.
But right now it looks now like the rain is falling pretty hard.