class action lawsuit filed on behalf of homeless African-American

Tom Boland (
Tue, 12 May 1998 20:31:59 -0700 (PDT)


LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 6, 1998--A class
action lawsuit filed Tuesday on behalf of a homeless
African-American man and his relatives accuses two heir loan
companies of bilking them and countless other poor people out of
their meager inheritances.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, targets National
Consumers and sister company Budget National, two loan
companies that specialize in loaning money secured against property
in probate at interest rates as high as 31 percent.

Among the defendants named in the suit is attorney N. Mitchell
Feinstein, president of National Consumers. Feinstein is accused of
using his law firm to pursue collection of loans from the
inheritances of borrowers when they can't meet interest payments --
with all legal costs coming from the estate.

Plaintiff Michael Allen Brown was a penniless, homeless man
living in a public park when approached by National Consumers to
make a loan on his inheritance, which would have been
approximately $15,000. "National Consumers sent a limousine to
pick him up, then made a loan of $6,900, but gave Mr. Brown only
$5,000 after deducting outrageous fees and points," explained his
attorney, John L. Fallat. "National Consumers is now demanding
repayment of $20,000 from the estate -- more than the actual amount
Mr. Brown would have inherited."

"These loans are an incredible rip-off of low income individuals,
especially those in the African-American community of
South-Central Los Angeles," explained Fallat. "National Consumers
never expects its monthly payments to be made on the loans, but
instead is setting up these people to fail so National Consumers can
charge outrageous interest and delinquency fees along with lining
the coffers of Mr. Feinstein's law firm."

Plaintiff C. Darlene Young of South-Central Los Angeles, the
homeless man's sister, is administrator of the estate in which
another brother and a sister took out loans, according to Fallat,

"National Consumers pressured her to sell the family home for a
price lower than she wanted to, and then filed petitions to have her
removed as the estate's administrator. To add insult to injury, they
then charged her two brothers for all their attorney fees and costs for
proceeding to court to have Ms. Young removed as administrator."

"National Consumers and Mr. Feinstein are inheritance robbers and
bottom feeders preying on desperate people who are barely
surviving," Fallat said. "They must be stopped."

Copyright 1998, Business Wire


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