Friday, April 15, 2011

Virginians among investors duped by subprime auto loan lender

Inofin had approximately 275 investors who resided in Virginia, the District of Columbia and twenty-five states, including Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Florida.

Virginia’s State Corporation Commission (SCC) shows they were certified in 2/12/2004 with 200,000 registered shares of common stock. They are delinquent for 2011 owing an amount of $1463.

The Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday charged Massachusetts-based subprime auto loan provider Inofin Inc. and three company executives with misleading investors about their lending activities and diverting millions of dollars in investor funds for their personal benefit.

In exchange for investor money, Inofin gave its investors a “Loan Agreement” and a “Promissory Note.”

In an Inofin document they state that:

Since 1994, Inofin has originated and serviced over thirty thousand automobile loans through over fifteen hundred dealer members in twelve states, primarily throughout New England and along the Atlantic Coast. These states include Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and most recently, Colorado.

The SEC alleges that Inofin executives Michael Cuomo of Plymouth, Mass., Kevin Mann of Marshfield, Mass., and Melissa George of Duxbury, Mass., illegally raised at least $110 million from hundreds of investors in 25 states and the District of Columbia through the sale of unregistered notes. Investors in the notes were told that Inofin would use the money for the sole purpose of funding subprime auto loans. As part of the pitch, Inofin and its executives told investors that they could expect to receive returns of 9 to 15 percent because Inofin loaned investor money to its subprime borrowers at an average rate of 20 percent. But unbeknownst to investors, starting in 2004 approximately one-third of investor money raised was instead used by Cuomo and Mann to open four used car dealerships and begin multiple real estate property developments for their own benefit. 

Inofin is not registered with the SEC to offer securities to investors.

“Whether selling stock or notes, public and private companies alike must play it straight with investors or be held accountable for their misconduct,” said David Bergers, Director of the SEC’s Boston Regional Office. “Inofin and some top executives violated investors’ trust by misusing their funds to bankroll their personal business ventures.”

Inofin was forced to surrender its license to operate as a subprime auto lender in Massachusetts.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Business, Crime

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