Security & Fraud

CFPB Cracks Down On Deceptive Lender Who Targeted 9/11 First Responders

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced Tuesday (Sept. 19) that it took action against Top Notch Funding and two individuals associated with the company.

In a press release, the government watchdog contended the company and two individuals lied about loan offerings to consumers who were awaiting payment from settlements in legal cases or from victim-compensation funds. The consumers included former National Football League players suffering from neurological disorders, victims of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster and 9/11 first responders.

The CFPB wants to prevent Top Notch, owner Rory Donadio and his business associate John “Gene” Cavalli from offering or providing such products in the future. The Bureau also ordered them to pay $70,000 in civil money penalties to the CFPB’s Civil Penalty Fund. The proposed penalties take into account the defendant’s inability to pay more.

“It is reprehensible that Top Notch and its owner sought to scam NFL concussion victims, 9/11 heroes and others to turn a quick profit,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray in a press release. “We allege that this company, its owner and its associate misled vulnerable consumers by lying about the terms of the deals they offered. Our proposed order seeks to knock these parties out of this business altogether, and impose penalties on them.”

Owned and operated by Donadio and headquartered in Verona, New Jersey, Top Notch is a company that marketed loans to consumers who were on tap to receive payments from legal settlements or victim compensation funds. These consumers included former NFL players who were entitled to receive settlement money for injuries suffered during play, individuals who were entitled to settlements related to harm incurred in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig accident, and first responders injured as a result of the Sept. 11, 2001 World Trade Center attack who were entitled to payments from the Victim Compensation Fund as part of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

The CFPB alleges that the company lied about the cost of the loans in the long run, among other things.

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