by Barbara Nevins Taylor
Good news for people in New York who ended up at the wrong end of a Future Income Payments (FIP) pension advance scheme. The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) ordered the company to stop doing business in the state, refund money, collect only what people actually borrowed and pay a fine of $500,000.
California-based Future Income Payments and its owner, Scott Kohn, set up an elaborate scheme between people who needed quick cash and borrowed against their pensions, and investors who lent the money. We have posted about the dangers of pension advance programs for people who need money and those who lend it.
But here’s what happened in this case in New York State, 282 people borrowed $283 million dollars through FIP. Some borrowed as little as $2,500. Others took loans of as much as $58,000. If everything went as planned, Future Income Payments would make a profit of 250 percent and pocket $8.8 million.
The company advertised online and worked through third-party lead generators.
They called these loans pension cash advances, lump sum payments, pension buyouts and structured cash flows. But the Financial Services Department found a loan by another name adds up to a loan. DFS ruled the company violated lending law because it’s not licensed to make loans in New York State. DFS Superintendent Maria Vullo also found the company charged more interest than the state allows.
As the result of a consent agreement with the state:
- Future Income Payments will revise the amount of money for New Yorkers to what they actually borrowed. That means no interest.
- Anyone who already completed paying off the loan, minus the interest, will not have to pay anymore. The company will confirm that in writing.
- Future Income Payments will refund what people paid in interest beyond what they actually borrowed.
- Future Income Payments will stop doing business in New York and will put that fact on websites, advertising and other solicitations.
HOW DO YOU GET YOUR MONEY BACK?
New York State will pick an administrator to oversee the details and after that Future Income Payments has 45 days to make the refunds and adjust payment schedules.
The agreement with the state requires Future Income Payments and the administrator to get in touch with borrowers. But in the meantime, if you borrowed against your pension with Future Income Payments and you live in New York, call the DFS hotline (800)342-3736 or go to www.dfs.ny.gov for help.
Unfortunately, this agreement and individual court cases and rulings in other states that found pension advance schemes amount to loans affect only people in those cases and states.
Just in case anyone gets confused, Future Income Payments went by the name Pension Annuities & Settlements and used marketing companies called Cash Flow Investment Partners, BuySellAnnuity and Pension Advance LLC.. All the companies operated from the same address in Irvine, California.