An Alternate Name of Northern Leasing Systems
MBF Leasing is a merchant account equipment lease provider and DBA of Northern Leasing Systems. In addition to Northern Leasing and MBF Leasing, the Northern Leasing family of companies includes Lease Finance Group, Golden Eagle Leasing, and Lease Source-LSI, LLC. As of this review, MBF Leasing’s website is no longer active, but it appears that Northern Leasing still utilizes MBF Leasing as a business name. This is surprising due to the negative reputation MBF Leasing has built for itself through poor business practices, which ultimately resulted in a lawsuit and the creation of a large, independent merchant forum specifically built to warn business owners against using the company.
Northern Leasing Systems Lawsuit Update 2021
In June 2020, the New York Attorney General won the 2016 lawsuit filed against Northern Leasing Systems, Inc, voiding thousands of fraudulently-induced credit card equipment leases. The ruling also vacated nearly 30,000 default judgments and banned 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, including MBF Leasing, 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using the same scheme barred by the court in the prior litigation, as well as to continue collecting on leases rescinded by the June 2020 court order.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.
Tricky Non-Cancellable Equipment Leases
MBF Leasing is not a merchant account provider; rather, it leases credit card processing equipment like terminals, printers, barcode scanners, and other point-of-sale technology. Like other equipment providers, the company’s services and products are often packaged within the merchant account contracts of credit card processors. Because of this, merchants regularly sign equipment leases through MBF without realizing that they are entering into agreements that are separate from their merchant account contracts. As with other Northern Leasing Systems companies, MBF Leasing’s contract terms are non-cancellable and usually run for 48 months.
Initial New York AG Lawsuit
In March of 2013, MBF Leasing and its associated companies paid out a multimillion-dollar settlement to hundreds of small business owners as part of an agreement reached with the New York Attorney General. MBF Leasing and its DBA, Northern Leasing, stood accused of creating a shell company called SKS Associates LLC, which it used to deceive merchants and withdraw money from their checking accounts after their contracts had expired. Although the Attorney General’s lawsuit ended the existence of SKS Associates LLC, the Northern Leasing Systems family of companies continued to operate and had grown into a very large network of equipment providers until the New York Attorney General filed a lawsuit in April 2016 and reached a settlement in June 2020 effectively dissolving Northern Leasing Systems and its family of companies. Jay Cohen is listed as the CEO of Northern Leasing Systems (and, by extension, MBF Leasing).
For a full analysis of the primary company in this network, please see our Northern Leasing Systems review.
MBF Leasing Review Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: MBF Leasing offers 48-month, non-cancellable equipment leases that often costs many times the purchase price of the equipment.
- Complaints & Service: MBF Leasing has received more than 750 public complaints.
- BBB Rating: MBF Leasing has an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 224 complaints and 54 reviews in the last 3 years.
- Sales & Marketing: MBF Leasing 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 MBF Leasing