January 10, 2020
SUPERINTENDENT OF FINANCIAL SERVICES LINDA A. LACEWELL AND NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL LETITIA JAMES ANNOUNCE $3.76 MILLION SETTLEMENT WITH VISION PROPERTY MANAGEMENT FOR PREDATORY LENDING PRACTICES
Vision Allegedly Used Misleading Business Practices to Entice New York Consumers to Lease, Rent, or Purchase Rotting, Uninhabitable, Pest-Infested Properties
Judgement is Entered Against Vision in the Amount of $3.76 Million, which includes $600,000 in Monetary Restitution to Consumers and Transfer of Deed with Clean Title for 58 Identified Properties
$6.53 Million Dollars Secured for New York State Consumers via Settlement with Vision Property and Atalaya Capital Management
NEW YORK − Superintendent of Financial Services Linda A. Lacewell today announced that the Department of Financial Services (DFS) and New York Attorney General (NYAG) Letitia James have reached a $3.76 million settlement with Vision Property Management LLC, for its operation as an illegal, unlicensed mortgage-lending business profiting from predatory subprime home loans at the expense of economically vulnerable New Yorkers. This settlement is the outcome of a lawsuit filed by DFS and the Attorney General in August 2019 against Vision, its affiliates and CEO, for disguising seller-financed loans as lease-with-option-to-purchase (LOP) agreements and engaging in unlicensed mortgage lending. It follows a $2.77 million settlement with Atalaya Capital Management LP, an active, former investor in Vision’s deceptive business practices. With the addition of today’s settlement and the Atalaya settlement, $6.53 million has been secured for New York State consumers.
“Vision property management stole from hundreds of New Yorkers who sought the American dream of homeownership,” said Superintendent of Financial Services Linda A. Lacewell. “This settlement holds Vision accountable for their illegal actions and provides a measure of restitution to New Yorkers who were victimized by Vision’s predatory practices. This is a clear message that New York has zero tolerance for those who rely on deception and fraud to turn a profit, and I commend Attorney General James and the staff of both DFS and the Attorney General’s office for their hard work on this important matter.”
Under the settlement announced today, Vision will pay $600,000 in consumer restitution, and transfer to consumers 58 identified properties (value of $3,161,805) with no future payment obligation to Vision, along with property deed and legal title. Consumers no longer living in a Vision home may qualify for some monetary relief. And consumers who live in a Vision home but do not wish to accept title and the deed, may instead qualify for some form of compensation, taking into account whether they received compensation from the prior settlement with Atalaya Capital Management. Consumers who wish to surrender possession of a property to Vision may contact DFS and/or the Attorney General to discuss the amount of possible monetary restitution. Additionally, going forward in the State of New York, the settlement bans Vision, its affiliates and CEO from carrying out their alleged illegal, unlicensed mortgage-lending business, including providing any form of financing for the purchase or sale of residential real property and servicing and attempting to collect payments from consumers regarding residential property agreements.
“Vision’s illegal and deceptive practices that were targeted against New York’s most vulnerable residents will finally be put to an end,” said Attorney General James. “Owning a home is what millions of New Yorkers dream of, but Vision turned that dream into a nightmare. Not only are we shutting down this company’s illegal New York racket, but we are securing restitution for the many victims and are ensuring 58 families have their mortgage debts wiped away. A fair and transparent housing market is essential for the health, welfare, and economic stability of New York and its residents, which is why my office will never stop fighting to hold companies responsible for their deceptive actions. I want to thank Superintendent Lacewell and her team at DFS for their partnership and diligent work throughout this case"
In addition to the consumer restitution and deed/title transfers, Vision will take the following actions:
- Void and terminate residential property agreements;
- Sell or transfer any remaining NY residential real property to an unaffiliated third party and transfer three-quarters of the proceeds of the sale to New York;
- Keep and maintain consumer information to enable DFS and the Attorney General to administer restitution and prevent the usage of consumer information, including name and social security numbers for their benefit; and
- Fully cooperate in any investigation undertaken by New York State in regard to compliance with the Court’s final judgement.
Consumers who believe they may have been affected can file a complaint at www.dfs.ny.gov/complaint, or call the hotline at (800) 342-3736. The hotline is available Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM (local calls can be made to (212) 480-6400 or (518) 474-6600).
A copy of the Stipulated Consent Judgment and Stipulated Order and Final Judgment will be placed on the DFS website soon; a copy of the Proposed Stipulated Order and Final Judgement can be found here.
This matter was handled by Deputy Superintendent Peter C. Dean and Supervising Attorney in the Consumer Protection and Financial Enforcement Division Cynthia M. Reed.
In the New York State Attorney General’s Office, the matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Noah Popp of the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Jane M. Azia and Chief Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice Meghan Faux. The Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection is overseen by Chief Deputy Attorney General for Economic Justice Christopher D’Angelo and First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.