Rent-to-own customers face high costs, harassment, few protections

An investigation was done jointly by NerdWallet, Raycom Media’s national investigative unit, and the Texas Tribune examined the business practices of Rent-A-Center, which is among the country’s largest rent-to-own retailers. Reporters found customers who had been subjected to abusive behavior, intimidation, and threats of arrest by Rent-A-Center employees after getting behind on payments. Some said…

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Cutting tuition grants wouldn’t save as much as Texas lieutenant governor claims

Hundreds of thousands of minority, poor and middle class students could miss out on an opportunity to attend college if Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick gets his way. Patrick wants to eliminate programs that require 20 percent of all tuition collected by schools to go to students who demonstrate financial need. By doing away with…

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How companies make millions off lead-poisoned, poor blacks

An investigation by the Washington Post into the unregulated world of structured settlements revealed an industry profiting on the poor and disabled. The story focuses on loopholes in Baltimore and highlights one company – Access Funding. Since 2013, the company has filed nearly 200 structured settlement purchases in Maryland. A large chunk of those cases…

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Despite new laws, North Carolina hospital system continues aggressive collection practices

On Sunday, The Charlotte Observer published a package of stories showing that North Carolina’s largest hospital system continues to file hundreds of lawsuits against patients, despite new state and federal laws aimed at reining in aggressive collection practices. The Observer’s review found that a number of the lawsuits by Carolinas HealthCare System were filed against low-income…

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Government hired collectors to go after debtors

Debt collection horror stories are nothing new. But there’s a whole other side to the industry that no one’s talking about: collectors hired by government agencies to hunt down debtors. CNNMoney spent months investigating this booming business and one of its biggest players, Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson. Hundreds of consumer complaints were analyzed from…

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County consultant awarded contract despite not paying rent

Tom Akers and his consulting firm have enjoyed a long, lucrative relationship with Clark County. Akers & Associates has a two-year, $227,500 county contract, the most recent in a line of business arrangements since 2007, when he was hired to teach small and dis­advantaged businesses how to navigate the county’s procurement process and secure county…

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Extra Extra Monday: More ATF stings botched, fired nurses still find jobs, secretive company forecloses on hundreds

ATF uses rogue tactics in storefront stings across nation | Milwaukee Journal SentinelEarlier this year when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel exposed a botched ATF sting in Milwaukee — that included agents hiring a brain-damaged man to promote an undercover storefront and then arresting him for his work — ATF officials told Congress the failed Milwaukee…

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Extra Extra Monday: Billions given–not received, town sells water at a discount to NSA, Puerto Rico in financial troubles

Donor-advised funds: Where charity goes to wait | The Boston Globe$45 billion of American philanthropic money has been given—but not received. Utah town gave NSA a deal on water | The Salt Lake TribuneBluffdale agreed to sell water to the National Security Agency at a rate below its own guidelines and the Utah average in…

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DeVry Lures Medical School Rejects as Taxpayers Fund Debt

“DeVry, which has two for-profit medical schools in the Caribbean, is accepting hundreds of students who were rejected by U.S. medical colleges. These students amass more debt than their U.S. counterparts — a median of $253,072 in June 2012 at AUC versus $170,000 for 2012 graduates of U.S. medical schools.”