Suit seeks to stop collection of debts


The Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada filed court papers Friday seeking to stop payday loan company Rapid Cash from collecting debts through tainted default judgments linked to one of its former process servers.

On Thursday, the nonprofit center filed a lawsuit in District Court against Rapid Cash over a scheme by the process server, On Scene Mediations, to submit false affidavits in default cases brought by Rapid Cash. The law firm of Kemp, Jones & Coulthard, which has experience in complicated civil litigation, is assisting in the case.

On Scene Mediations and its owner, indicted former Las Vegas police officer Maurice Carroll, also were named as defendants in the suit.

Rapid Cash either knew On Scene Mediations was filing false affidavits of service in court or was "willfully blind" to the process server's unlawful activities so that the payday loan company could obtain default judgments to collect the debts, the Legal Aid Center alleged in its court papers on Friday.

"Each and every day, Rapid Cash thumbs its nose at the law and makes a mockery of justice in Clark County," the court papers said. "This must stop. Now."

The center also wants a district judge to bar the Kansas-based Rapid Cash from having any contact with the class of plaintiffs now suing the company

Barbara Buckley, the Assembly's outgoing speaker and the executive director of the Legal Aid Center, said the lawsuit seeks to "redress the fraud perpetrated on the courts and on unsuspecting Nevadans."

She alleged "hundreds, if not thousands, of default judgments" may have been unlawfully obtained over the years.

From 2004 to 2009 Rapid Cash obtained a total of 16,663 default judgments in Las Vegas Justice Court, Buckley said.

Law enforcement authorities investigating the affidavit scheme say On Scene Mediations has operated without a state license since 2003.

Both Carroll, 41, and his former office manager, Vilisia Coleman, 46, are charged in separate criminal indictments in the affidavit scheme with perjury, filing false court documents and obtaining money under false pretenses.

Authorities have previously alleged that Carroll and Coleman submitted false affidavits in default cases on behalf of another former On Scene Mediations client, debt collection agency Richland Holdings.

Richland Holdings was not named in the class-action suit, but Buckley said the Legal Aid Center would file a separate suit against the company if victims of tainted default judgments obtained by the company want to pursue litigation. The center has a hot line, 868-1136, for people who think their rights were violated by On Scene Mediations.

Mark Dzarnoski, a Las Vegas lawyer Rapid Cash hired to help it assess fallout from the courthouse scandal, did not return calls on Friday. Carroll's lawyer, Craig Mueller, declined comment.

Contact Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-8135 or read more courts coverage at lvlegalnews.com.

 

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