The Georgia Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of two lenders charged with violating the state’s ban on payday loans. The two lenders, who were convicted of more than 40 violations, argued that the law violates the federal equal protection clause by unfairly targeting businesses located in Georgia. According to prosecutors, the two men subtly changed their business practices after the law was enacted. One puported to run a check-cashing service, and began referring the lending fee a “CheckGuard.” The other attempted to disguise the loans by including an option to buy a parcel of real estate that he owned — not surprisingly, no customers ever exercised that option. Both mean were given 15 years of probation, making them first Georgians to be successfully prosecuted under the law.
According to District Attorney Joe Mulholland:
“I’m not going to go out and celebrate, because I’m sure I’ll be doing this again next week. It’s kind of like the war on drugs, it’s never going away.”
[Source: Access North Georgia]