Maine’s Department of Professional and Financial Regulation Announces Cease and Desist Order Against “Woodhaven Advisors”

Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection says company is a predatory advance fee loan scam, falsely claiming to be located in Portland, Maine

GARDINER – Maine’s Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection issued a Cease and Desist Order against Woodhaven Advisors this week and warned consumers about this nationwide phony consumer loan company falsely claiming to be located on Forest Avenue in Portland.

A consumer in Oklahoma contacted the Bureau seeking licensing information about Woodhaven Advisors, which maintains a professional-looking website (www.woodhavenadvisors.com).  The company offered the consumer a $10,000 loan in exchange for four upfront monthly “collateral payments” of $200.38 totaling more than $800.

A Bureau investigation revealed that no lender by the name of Woodhaven Advisors is located at the Portland address listed on the site.  As a result of the investigation, the Bureau issued a formal Cease and Desist Order against Woodhaven Advisors on November 27, 2012 (www.WoodhavenAdvisors11_27_12.com).

“Woodhaven Advisors is not registered with the Bureau to make or broker consumer loans to Maine or out-of-state borrowers,” said David Leach, Principal Examiner with the Bureau. “The company is also not listed in corporate filings with the Secretary of State’s Office.  Additionally, the Portland City Clerk’s office confirmed that no such company is located at the address listed on the company’s website, nor is Woodhaven Advisors registered to do business in Portland.”

Leach sent an inquiry to the company’s “customer care” e-mail address.  The company responded on November 26, 2012 with profane language.

Advance fee consumer loans are illegal in Maine and the remainder of the United States.  Consumers who fall victim to advance fee loan scams pay the upfront money, but never receive the promised loan funds.  When consumers follow through with transactions of this kind from fraudulent lenders, they are often directed to wire advance fee funds, using services such as Western Union, Money Gram or Green Dot, to Canada or another foreign country.

“Once the money is wired or mailed to the scammers, there is little if any chance of recovering those funds,” Leach added.

The on-line application from Woodhaven Associates asks applicants to disclose their Social Security number, street address, and telephone and email contact information.  The disclosure of personal financial information such as Social Security numbers, dates of birth and bank account information can lead to a subsequent identity theft incident and additional losses of funds.

The Bureau notes that Maine has issued licenses to many reputable lenders and loan brokers, and advises consumers to never wire or mail advanced, certified funds to unknown consumer lenders or brokers. The Bureau recommends that consumers deal only with known, licensed lenders and brokers, and encourages consumers to call the Bureau (207-624-8527) to verify the license status of any company engaged in the consumer loan business. The Bureau also maintains a roster of licensed supervised lenders and loan brokers on its website, www.Credit.Maine.gov .

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The Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection is part of Maine’s Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, which encourages sound ethical business practices through high quality, impartial and efficient oversight of insurers, financial institutions, creditors, investment providers, and numerous professions and occupations.  Consumers can reach the Department at www.maine.gov/pfr.

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