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Movers & Shakers December 24, 2010

| December 24, 2010 8:00 PM

Securities fraud judgment entered against Idaho insurance agent

The Idaho Department of Finance has obtained a default judgment from the 4th District Court in Boise against Idaho insurance agent Jerry Ward and his business, Med-Life, which operates from various locations, including North Idaho.

Ward defrauded investors by offering and selling securities, the proceeds of which he used for his own benefit in violation of the registration and anti-fraud provisions of the Idaho Uniform Securities Act.

Ward made material misrepresentations by offering investors higher-than-market returns on so-called "insured certificates of deposit" that were neither Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insured nor issued by a financial institution, and by promoting the fictitious development of a senior housing facility in North Idaho.

The Department of Finance issued a "cease and desist order" against Ward and his company in June 2009, but Ward continued his fundraising efforts in violation of the order and Idaho securities laws.

The court permanently enjoined Ward from selling or offering for sale securities in any form in Idaho and from violating the anti-fraud provisions of the Idaho Uniform Securities Act.

Ward also is ordered to pay restitution to investors of $89,000, and civil penalties and attorney fees in the amount of $55,000 to the Idaho Department of Finance.

Utah company ordered

to stop Internet payday loans in state of Idaho

The Idaho Department of Finance announced the issuance of a cease and desist order this week against Utah-based Flobridge Group LLC, an Internet payday lender, alleged to be making payday loans in Idaho without a license and unlawfully garnishing the wages of Idaho payday loan debtors.

Department of Finance Director Gavin Gee said the unlicensed payday lender operates online as and

"All payday loans made by Flobridge to Idaho-based borrowers are unlawful, whether over the Internet or otherwise, because it does not hold an Idaho payday lender license," Gee said.

The order also alleges that Flobridge violated Idaho law by seeking garnishments of borrowers' wages without a court order.

The cease and desist order requires Flobridge to immediately stop its unlicensed payday lending in Idaho and to stop garnishing wages of Idaho residents in violation of Idaho law.

Gee said, "These alleged violations show a blatant disregard for Idaho's laws designed to protect consumers."

The 2009 Idaho Legislature amended Idaho's payday lending laws to provide that payday loans made in Idaho by unlicensed payday lenders, including Internet payday lenders, are void, uncollectible, and unenforceable.

Gee said that this 2009 change in Idaho law stemmed largely from an onslaught of payday lenders, like Flobridge, targeting prospective borrowers over the Internet and ignoring state licensing and consumer protection laws.

The department's investigation of unlicensed payday lending in Idaho is continuing and Gee encouraged Idahoans who might have taken out a payday loan over the Internet from Flobridge or from any other unlicensed payday lender to contact the Idaho Department of Finance at (208) 332-8000 or Idaho toll-free at 1(888)346-3378.

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