By David Dayen for The Intercept
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau penalized a man $1 this week, for illegally exchanging veterans’ pensions for high-interest “cash advances.” Mark Corbett claimed in sworn statements to the bureau that he had an inability to pay any fine of greater value, and the bureau accepted $1 as payment for making illegal, high-cost loans to former members of the armed forces.
Somehow, two other state regulatory agencies, in Arkansas and South Carolina, assisted in the extraction of a single dollar bill from Corbett.
This is not the first time during the Trump administration that CFPB has taken an inability to pay into account to reduce a fine for violations of consumer protection law. Under the previous acting director, current acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, this type of reduction was so widespread that it came to be known as the “Mulvaney discount.” The American justice system rarely treats impoverished defendants with such mercy.
Mulvaney has since been replaced by a confirmed director, his former aide Kathy Kraninger. The discount, however, has remained.
“It looks like the Trump-appointed political leadership at the CFPB is letting a person who preyed on veterans get away with a slap on the wrist,” said Will Corbett, a litigation counsel with the Center for Responsible Lending, a consumer advocacy group, in a statement.
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