Payday Lending Executive Sentenced for Swindling Vulnerable Consumers

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A federal judge in New York sentenced Richard Moseley, Sr. to 10 years in prison in June after a 2017 conviction for wire fraud, racketeering and other charges.

Through his payday lending business, Hydra Lenders, Moseley preyed on consumers’ financial vulnerability. He scammed over 600,000 victims by charging illegally high interest rates.

Over the course of a decade, the scam created more than $200 million in revenue. Moseley also engaged in identity theft of his victims.

The FBI became aware of Hydra Lenders when another government agency brought a consumer lawsuit against the group. Through forensic accounting methods and comprehensive employee and victim interviews, the FBI learned that Hydra was breaking the law in how it issued and collected on its loans.

“A lot of these victims had to rebuild their financial lives,” FBI New York supervisory special agent Matthew Taylor said. “They had to shut down their bank accounts and open new ones.

“Some of the individuals victimized were financially struggling at the time — including grandmothers, grandfathers and former military members who served our country. In most cases, victims did not get the money back that was illegally taken from them.”

Moseley portrayed Hydra Lenders as an offshore corporate entity to evade U.S. regulatory authorities. In reality, Hydra was a U.S.-based domestic firm that falsified its overseas presence in Nevis and New Zealand.

From 2004 to 2014, Hydra offered payday loans online to consumers across the country. Hydra charged interest rates in excess of 700 percent and imposed undisclosed fees on customers’ bank accounts.

Additionally, Hydra routinely withdrew interest payments from borrowers’ accounts without applying payments toward the principal balance. This practice led to an increasingly unfavorable and dire financial state for the majority of customers.

The Long Arm of the Law

For more than a decade, Moseley used his ill-gotten gains to finance a lavish lifestyle. Some of his assets included domestic and international real estate assets, luxury vehicles and exclusive country club memberships.

However, Moseley’s lifestyle has now changed dramatically with his 2017 conviction of Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act violations, wire fraud charges, aggravated identity theft and Truth in Lending Act violations.

Moseley was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to forfeit $49 million.