PHILADELPHIA- The lawyer who represented payday lenders accused of evading state regulations by using Native American tribes and a bank as fronts has been sentenced to eight years in federal prison.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that 69-year-old Wheeler Neff of Wilmington, Delaware was sentenced Friday on conspiracy and fraud convictions.
Neff represented 77-year-old Charles Hallinan, who is awaiting sentencing on conspiracy and fraud convictions.
Authorities said Hallinan charged astronomical interest rates of more than 700 per cent on the short-term loans in a “rent-a-tribe” and “rent a bank” scheme that netted his companies more than $688 million between 2008 and 2013.
Neff said Friday he believed then that his actions were legal and he never intended to harm anyone.
Pennsylvania and more than a dozen other states have passed laws that criminalize payday loans.