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May 26, 2020

2/11/2020 7:30:00 AM
LdF 'racketeering' case dismissed by federal court
Abigail Bostwick
Of the Lakeland Times

A federal lawsuit brought by a Pennsylvania man against Lac du Flambeau Tribal lenders accusing them of an interest rate scam has been dismissed by justices in the United State District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The lawsuit alleged Lac du Flambeau (LdF) Business Development Corporation (BDC)'s LdF Holdings, which offers payday or installment loans nationwide - including Radiant Cash - approved and gave a loan to the plaintiff, Isiah Jones of Pennsylvania in 2017.

Jones filed suit for himself and that of "other citizens of Pennsylvania" in 2019, indicating the loans - such as the $600 he borrowed - violated the Pennsylvania Loan Interest and Protection Law (LIPL) as well as federal racketeering laws. The lawsuit named Joseph Wildcat Sr., president of the Lac du Flambeau Tribe of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, the Lac du Flambeau Tribe of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, as well as 11 BDC board members and LdF Holdings employees.

According to Jones, those who received the LdF loans did so at an interest rate at or more than 12% per annum, which is not licensed in Pennsylvania. Jones himself took out the loan for personal, household and family related expenses and was approved for the loan with a 690% annual percentage rate, based on federal court records.

Last fall, attorney Shannon Miller of Maurice Wutscher, LLP in Pennsylvania, who is representing the 11 LdF defendants, argued the complaint does not hold merit and filed a motion to have the case dismissed, arguing "... the defendants are not liable, that Indian tribes and their tribally-created entities are entitled to immunity from suit and adding the court lacks personal jurisdiction over the eleven defendants because Jones has not stated they are from Radiant Cash.

The four attorneys arguing the case for Jones said it should not be dismissed as the fiduciary shield doctrine does not apply to RICO, and that the small town of Lac du Flambeau would be aware they are doing business in other states, including Pennsylvania.

In court Jan. 6, the court noted, "... having been reported the issues between the parties in the above action have been settled and upon Order of the Court pursuant to the provisions ... it is ordered the above action is dismissed with prejudice, pursuant to agreement of counsel without costs."

Abigail Bostwick may be reached at abigail@lakelandtimes.com.





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