Now we see why they put former U.S. Army General David Petraeus’ wife on the payroll at the CFPB’s new office for military affairs. Holly Petraeus just announced the agency’s launch of a first-of-its-kind database to track fraud aimed at servicemembers at home and overseas.
“During my visits to military communities across the country, I continue to hear stories of servicemembers and veterans being defrauded by businesses that see our troops as easy targets for a quick profit,” said Petraeus, assistant director for the CFPB’s Office of Servicemember Affairs.
“This database will help law enforcers stop some of the worst offenders – those that have made a practice of targeting our men and women in uniform and our veterans.”
They’re calling it ROAM (Repeat Offenders Against Military), which was the brainchild of the CFPB, the Department of defence and state Attorneys General.
The database will function like a central database for all companies and individuals that repeatedly go after military personnel. The key is that ROAM will be accessible by all state AGs, U.S. Attorneys and Judge Advocates from all five branches of the armed forces, which will help streamline investigations.
The catalyst for the new database was Rome Finance Co., an unlicensed lender (we all know how CFPB Director Richard Cordray feels about those) that went by the name “SmartBuy” and sold military members overpriced electronics. The crux of their scheme was to trap victims in high interest revolving credit lines and extended warranties.
Rome settled the case with New York State in August 2011 for $3.5 million, but during prosecutors’ investigation, they realised the scheme was just one prong in a massive fraud network reaching California, Colorado, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas and overseas.
In fact, Rome lost a $10.8 million judgment for running the same scheme in Tennessee just two years before.
“Had the ROAM database existed during our investigation of SmartBuy, we likely could have shut them down more quickly and saved countless service members thousands of dollars each,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Perhaps there’ll be a special section in ROAM for sleazy military dating scams like this one?