Based on dozens of consumer complaints received by the County’s Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, County Counsel sued Van Nuys Financial (VNF) and related entities and individuals (Defendants) for misrepresentation and false advertising in their small claims judgment debt collection business. The County’s complaint alleged that VNF, while purporting to help small claims judgment creditors in getting their money from judgment debtors, in reality, frequently collected its customers’ small claims judgments and then did not provide the customers with any of the money. In other cases, VNF is alleged to have provided minimal payments to customers in violation of their promise to take only an agreed-upon percentage of the judgment. Defendants’ conduct is alleged to have caused financial losses to a substantial number of County residents related to their judgments in Small Claims Court.
After filing suit, we reached a settlement that stopped the violations, requires Defendants to pay $60,000 in restitution to known victims, and places Defendants under a court-enforceable injunction requiring compliance and reporting to DCBA.
*Although Defendants settled this lawsuit, they did not admit liability; nor did they admit the allegations of the County’s complaint.