ARDC Alleges Lawyer Committed Criminal Usury

BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD:

The ARDC has filed a complaint alleging that a lawyer Donald Kindwald has committed criminal usury in connection with a loan business. The ARDC alleges that the lawyer began operating Bell Funding Group for the purpose of making consumer loans and that Bell Funding charged consumers interest rates “exceeding 100% and as high as 300% for short-term consumers loans.” The ARDC alleged that Bell Funding did not obtain a license to make consumer loans. Therefore, the loans violated the Illinois Consumer Installment Loan Act.

The ARDC also alleged that the lawyer wrongfully obtained judgments against some borrowers by informing courts that Bell Funding had obtained an arbitration award in its favor. The lawyer then requested that various courts “confirm” the arbitration award and issue a judgment. The problem, of course, is that there was no arbitration proceeding and, thus, nothing to confirm.

The complaint alleges violations of Rule 3.3(a)(1) (false statements to tribunals); Rule 8.4(c) (violation of the installment loan act); and 8.4(d) (dishonesty). The ARDC alleges:

“17. By reason of the conduct outlined above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

a. knowingly making a false statement of fact or law to a tribunal, by conduct including filing lawsuits to confirm the Bell Funding arbitration awards when he knew that Bell Funding never obtained the required license to make consumer loans; by filing pleadings before the court as if there was a “hearing” when there was none; and by failing to advise the court that the arbitration awards contained unearned interest charges in violation of the Consumer Installment Loan Act, in violation of Rule 3.3(a)(1) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

b. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, by conduct including filing lawsuits to confirm the Bell Funding arbitration awards when he knew that Bell Funding never obtained the required license to make consumer loans; by filing pleadings before the court as if there was a “hearing” when there was none; and by failing to advise the court that the arbitration awards contained unearned interest charges in violation of the Consumer Installment Loan Act, in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

c. conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, by conduct including filing lawsuits to confirm the Bell Funding arbitration awards when he knew that Bell Funding never obtained the required license to make consumer loans; by filing pleadings before the court as if there was a “hearing” when there was none; and by failing to advise the court that the arbitration awards contained unearned interest charges in violation of the Consumer Installment Loan Act, in violation of Rule 8.4(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.:”

Disclaimer – this is a report based on allegations in a complaint that have not been proven. No hearing has been held.

Edward X. Clinton, Jr.

‘via Blog this’

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