US accuses man of payday loan scam


An Oakleigh Park businessman has been charged in a Nevada court with scamming US citizens with “substantial” money from a call center in Whetstone.

US authorities said last Wednesday that companies headed by Aaron Gershfield and two co-defendants had used abusive and aggressive tactics to take hundreds of dollars from Americans who had taken out so-called “payday” loans.

Mr Gershfield, 50, of Oakleigh Park North, faces a fine and injunctions for his alleged involvement as a former director of Cash Today Ltd, based in Northway Court, Whetstone, and a network of companies registered in Nevada, United States.

According to documents filed by the state attorney general with the United States District Court in Reno, Nevada, Cash Today Ltd offered loans of up to $ 500 without a credit check or proof of income, to be repaid with fees between $ 35 and $ 80 per their next salary.

But Cash Today Ltd employees then used their access to borrowers’ bank accounts to withdraw “substantial sums of money” in connection with the loans, US officials say.

Borrowers were forced to close their accounts, but Cash Today Ltd then launched a “campaign of deceptive and abusive collection tactics”, calling borrowers at home and at work from the company’s offices in High Street, Whetstone , to get more money, it is claimed.

“Defendants also intimidate consumers, by falsely stating that defendants can and will have them arrested or jailed, or by falsely stating that defendants will take formal action against them, for example by taking legal action, foreclosure or arrest. seizing their property or seizing their wages. , say the authorities.

“In fact, in many cases the accused cannot take such legal action and in any event have no intention of doing so. ”

It is alleged that Mr. Gershfield “formulated, directed, controlled or participated in the acts and practices of Cash Today Ltd.”

The brief states that consumers across the United States have suffered “a substantial monetary loss as a result of the illegal acts or practices of the defendants.”

Ivor Gershfield, who was also a director of Cash Today Ltd, and Jim Harris, a director of five of the subsidiaries, are also accused, along with the network of ten companies involved.

They are accused of threatening consumers, breaking loan laws by failing to disclose loan terms and selling unlicensed loans.

US officials are hoping to secure refunds for allegedly scammed consumers.

Yesterday afternoon no one was at Mr Gershfield’s address in Oakleigh Park North, which looked empty and run down.

A receptionist at the Cash Today Ltd offices at Northway House in High Road said Mr Gershfield was not available to speak to the Times Series.

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