(Signing affidavits of confession of judgment when asking for a loan would take you out of your life savings and all your possessions...)Then they will call the loan (Cash advancements)

Government officials enable the whole scheme. A few are even getting rich doing it.


Janelle and Doug Duncan
“Somebody just comes in and rips everything out. It’s cannibalized our whole life”

The lenders’ weapon of choice is an arcane legal document called a confession of judgment. Before borrowers get a loan, they have to sign a statement giving up their right to defend themselves if the lender takes them to court. It’s like an arbitration agreement, except the borrower always loses. Armed with a confession, a lender can, without proof, accuse borrowers of not paying and legally seize their assets before they know what’s happened. Not surprisingly, some lenders have abused this power. In dozens of interviews and court pleadings, borrowers describe lenders who’ve forged documents, lied about how much they were owed, or fabricated defaults out of thin air.

“Somebody just comes in and rips everything out,” Doug said one evening in August, pulling up a stool at a Starbucks and recounting the events that killed the Duncans’ business. After a long day spent selling houses for another company, the name tag pinned to his shirt had flipped upside down like a distress signal. “It’s cannibalized our whole life.”

Confessions of judgment have been part of English common law since the Middle Ages, intended as a way to enforce debts without the fuss and expense of trial. Concerns about their potential abuse are almost as old. In Charles Dickens’s 1837 novel The Pickwick Papers, a landlady who’s tricked into signing one ends up in debtors’ prison. Some U.S. states outlawed confessions in the middle of the 20th century, and federal regulators banned them for consumer loans in 1985. But New York still allows them for business loans.

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