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A man who owns three Little Rock corporations that broker high-interest loans to veterans in exchange for acquiring rights to the veterans' future pension payments has been permanently banned from offering such agreements.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced Thursday that a final judgment had been entered against Andrew Gamber, who, according to court documents, co-founded and owned Voyager Financial Group, an Arkansas corporation; and founded and owned both BAIC Inc., a Texas corporation based in Little Rock, and SoBell Corp., a Mississippi corporation based in Little Rock.

The businesses brokered contracts offering high-interest credit to veterans who agreed to sell their retirement or disability benefits for months or years in exchange for a lump-sum payment. Federal law prohibits agreements under which another person acquires the right to receive a veteran's pension payments, according to a lawsuit pursued by Rutledge's office and the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

"Scam artists will stop at nothing to try to poach our veterans' pensions despite state and federal protections," Rutledge said in a news release. "We will always go after those who try to take advantage of our veterans and their much deserved pensions."

The final order filed in federal court in Little Rock requires Gamber and his companies to cooperate fully with the attorney general's office and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to determine the identity and location of, and the amount of injury sustained by, each consumer, Rutledge said.

Rutledge encouraged any consumer who has been affected by the actions by Voyager Group or its owners to contact the attorney general's Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 482-8982.

A June 2014 article in the AARP Bulletin warned its members about "Pension Predators," as such scammers are known. It mentioned that in Arkansas, state security officials had issued cease-and-desist orders against companies owned by Voyager Financial Group.

The article warned that many people "have signed over their pensions to a growing army of pension predators who go after veterans and other retirees who have a steady income stream. Smooth talkers encourage them to tap their future income for a cash sum now -- often at an exorbitant cost."

The article quoted Richard Cordray, head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as saying, "these schemes are usually very bad deals for the retirees."

Metro on 08/16/2019

Print Headline: Court bans Arkansan from offering vets lump-sum deals

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