Northern Leasing Systems Lawsuit Update 2021
In June 2020, the New York Attorney General won the 2016 lawsuit filed against Northern Leasing Systems, Inc, the parent company of Lease Finance Group, voiding thousands of fraudulently-induced credit card equipment leases. The ruling also vacates nearly 30,000 default judgments and bans Northern Leasing from engaging in equipment leasing, effectively dissolving the company. The Attorney General’s victory will also force Northern Leasing and its related entities, Northern Leasing’s chief executive officer, and others who engaged in the fraudulent scheme to provide restitution to small business owners who were fraudulently induced into financing leases for credit card processing equipment from April 1, 2013 through the present. Northern Leasing is ordered to dissolve 60 days after providing relief. Restitution amounts are to be set by the court at a later date. Small business merchants are not required to take action at this time in order to receive restitution.
In February 2021, the Supreme Court denied the Northern Respondents’ motions for discovery and a trial or evidentiary hearing, and denied the Attorney Respondents’ motion for summary judgment dismissing the petition as against them, effectively upholding the 2020 decision.
Additionally, according to EINPresswire, in November 2020, the OAG brought forward another, separate proceeding after discovering that Northern Leasing’s owners and officers had created two new entities — NLS Equipment Finance and Leasing Expenses Company — to continue defrauding small businesses using the same scheme barred by the court in the prior litigation, as well as to continue collecting on leases rescinded by the June 2020 court order.
The companies found liable by this ruling — also issued by the New York County State Supreme Court — were operated by former Northern Leasing Chief Financial Officer Ariel Schachter and former Northern Leasing officer Sara Krieger, and were owned by trusts that benefited the families of Northern Leasing’s owners, Jay Cohen and Leonard Mezei. The court found that these companies had “risen on [Northern Leasing’s] ashes” in an earlier December ruling that granted a temporary restraining order barring them from collecting on any equipment leases. In February, 2021, New York Attorney General Letitia James issued a decision and order in February 2021 effectively shutting down Northern Leasing Systems’ alleged attempt to continue to enforce illegal leases, including those voided in the 2020 decision. The parties named in this proceeding include Leasing Expenses Company LLC; NLS Equipment Finance LLC; Leonard Mezei; Ariel Schacter; Sara Krieger; Jay Cohen; a Jay Cohen Family Trust; Fieldston Capital LLC; and JS Ventures Holding LLC.
Despite the extensive and public legal action against the company, Northern Leasing Systems appears to be still operating at some level, as per a promotional article from March 18, 2021 celebrating the company’s 30th anniversary penned by founder and president Jay Cohen posted to PRWeb, a promotional website. Additionally, some former customers report to the BBB that they continue to receive bills from Northern Leasing Systems, including for properties that the customers no longer own. According to some comments from customers, Northern Leasing Systems no longer answers communications, though they continue to list a phone number on their website.
Part of the Northern Leasing Systems Network
Lease Finance Group is a merchant account equipment lease provider that goes by several alternate business names, including Northern Leasing Systems, MBF Leasing, Golden Eagle Leasing, and Lease Source-LSI, LLC. Lease Finance Group is not a merchant account provider; rather, it leases credit card processing equipment like terminals, printers, barcode scanners, and other point-of-sale technology. Lease Finance Group’s equipment leases are often packaged with the merchant accounts of payment processors, meaning that business owners are often unaware that they are signing up for service through multiple companies. The company is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois at 65 E. Wacker Place, Suite 510. Jay Cohen is the Chairman and CEO of Lease Finance Group’s parent company Northern Leasing Systems.
For a full analysis of the primary company in this network, please see our Northern Leasing Systems review.
Lease Finance Group Review Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: Lease Finance Group offers 48-month, non-cancellable equipment leases that often cost many times the purchase price of the equipment.
- Complaints & Service: Lease Finance Group has received more than 750 public complaints.
- BBB Rating: Lease Finance Group has a “B” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 32 complaints and 36 reviews in the last 3 years.
- Sales & Marketing: Lease Finance Group allows independent sales agents to package its equipment leases with other merchant accounts and has received an extremely high number of merchant complaints about its sales practices.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Lease Finance Group