Pay day loan company pays back victims - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Pay day loan company pays back victims

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December 13, 2004

Albany -- Good news for people taken advantage of by an East Albany pay day loan company. Prosecutors shut down Kool Kash last month. That business settled the civil action filed against it and repaid people who got ripped off.

District Attorney Ken Hodges hands out checks to customers of Kool Kash. John and Helen Bardge received 446 dollars, repaying the interest they overpaid on three loans. John Bardge said "I could shout. Because they were taking people's money."

Hodges handed out checks to four victims of Kool Kash, who were charged more than the sixteen percent interest, which is the max under Georgia law. Nearly 40-thousand dollars will be returned to the dozens of Kool Kash customers.

Beverly Harris said "In the future, I will do a little more research before I stick my name on anything, or sign any type of contract."

The closed sign on the front door of Kool Kash is permanent. The business is shut down, and in the settlement owner William Wallace of Valdosta agrees not to open any loan business in Dougherty County again.

The settlement also calls for Kool Kash to pay the D.A.'s office 50-thousand dollars, which Hodges says will continue shutting down all illegal pay day loan businesses in Albany. District Attorney Ken Hodges said "We will clean Dougherty County out of anyone who is taking advantage of our people. They will not do business here."

The Bardge's were one of the first to call the D.A.'s office to complain about Kool Kash. Mrs. Bardge says she will use the 446 dollars refund to buy a new church outfit.

The other pay day loan business Hodges shut down, First American Cash Advance, sent the D.A. a 50 page fax outlining their defense against his charges.

Hodges says he expects that company to battle him in court rather than settle like Kool Kash, because there is much more money involved.

posted at 4:10 PM by jimw@walb.com