In a shocking payday loan scam in Texas, one man stole large sums of money to avoid taking out a loan. Was it worth it? We’ll let you decide. Read on for the full story with PDNET.

In this article you’ll read:

  • How Mr Petersen managed to take out ‘ghost’ loans
  • How Mr Petersen’s crimes were discovered
  • The repercussions of the crime
  • Whether stealing is ever the answer
  • Conclusion

An employee of a payday loan store in Wichita Falls, Texas, has been charged with embezzling over $37,000 from the Check ‘n Go store over a 4-month period. In this article, you’ll read how Mr Lawrence Petersen managed to steal so much money and how his crime came to light. Find out why he decided to steal from his employer and the punishment for his crime. If you find yourself in a similar situation to Mr Petersen, what should you do?

How Mr Petersen Carried out the Payday Loan Scam

Mr Petersen started by taking out a loan with the intention of paying it back. However, when he couldn’t pay back the capital and interest, he took out further loans. When they all became due, he logged into his company’s system with his username and password. He used the personal details of past and existing Check ‘n Go customers to take out an estimated 60-80 loans between September-December 2017. The loans totalled over $37,000. These ‘ghost’ loans (i.e. without the presence of the customer) were new, activated or reactivated loans, and he altered the loan amounts so that he could keep the cash himself.

How did Mr Petersen’s Crime Come to Light?

The Check ‘n Go company received a complaint from someone in California. The caller said that they had received notification of a loan in their name which they had never applied for. Before the loan company could begin its formal internal investigation, a store customer representative reported another questionable short term loan which had come to their attention.

On December 29th 2017 the police responded to a call about a theft at 4200 block of Kemp Boulevard, where Mr Petersen worked. The officer carried out a non-custodial interview with the 56-year-old employee who admitted his guilt.

Check ‘n Go cooperated fully with the police investigation. The company provided full access to the store’s spreadsheets, videos and still images. The computer system and the use of Mr Petersen’s log-in details also backed up the paperwork and visual evidence.

The Repercussions of the Payday Loan Scam

In light of their investigation, the lender said that they had been in contact with all their past and present customers who had been affected by the embezzlement to notify them and make the necessary reparations.

Mr Petersen has been charged with the misapplication of fiduciary property of which he was held as a trustee, and which involved a loss of risk for the property owner. At the moment he is out on bail pending his trial.

The third-degree felony which he has been accused of carries a prison sentence of 2-10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Is Stealing Ever the Answer?

When he was first questioned, Mr Petersen commented to the police officer that he knew he would get caught. He realised it was only a matter of time. If so, what made him do it?

In his defence, Mr Petersen said that he had needed the money to pay some medical bills. The strain of ill health combined with the mental strain of financial difficulties probably pushed him over the edge.

Unfortunately, the repercussions for these moments of weakness are going to be much longer-lasting than his prison sentence. He has also lost his livelihood and with a police record, he will find it impossible to get another job in the financial sector.

Stealing is never the answer. When faced with difficulty repaying direct lender payday loans for bad credit, the best thing to do is to speak to your creditor. Make arrangements for an affordable repayment plan and if possible, a payment holiday.

Another important solution is to take a good, long, hard look at your budget. Are there ways to cut down on inessential expenditure? If this is difficult for you, organisations like Citizens Advice and StepChange are always willing to give you a helping hand with both budgeting and debt management.

Payday Loan Scam – Conclusion

It is such a pity that Mr Petersen could see no other way out of financial difficulties than to borrow the money and then when that didn’t work out, to steal. This should be a warning for all of us. The easiest solutions are not always the best ones.

Tracy Walter
As a busy mother of 3, Tracy knows all about household finances. After completing her BA English Language and Literature at the University of Hertfordshire, she found an entry level job as an insurance agent and worked her way up. After the birth of her second child she left the insurance sector to work from home as a freelance writer. Tracy’s varied background in personal finance, writing and homemaking provide the perfect foundation for writing for the Payday Loan Net blog. Tracy loves nature, and weekends often find her with her kids at one of the many parks in the Barking area.

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