Jamestown man faces 62 charges for alleged business practices
Jamestown, ND - A Jamestown man is facing 62 misdemeanor charges for alleged irregularities in more than 90 contracts he made with customers to finance the purchase of vehicles or have repairs done to vehicles at his business, Budget Auto Sales & Service in Jamestown.
Brian Lee Hanson, 44, 1011 10th St. SE, was charged Thursday in Southeast District Court in Jamestown with 31 counts of usury, a Class B misdemeanor, and 31 counts of violating the Truth in Lending Act, a Class A misdemeanor. Hanson is scheduled to appear in court at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday in Jamestown.
Hanson is free on bond. The maximum penalty for a Class A misdemeanor is one year in jail and a $3,000 fine. The maximum penalty for a Class B misdemeanor is 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine.
Hanson declined comment on the charges when contacted by phone Monday.
According to court documents, Hanson allegedly entered into a contract with a Jamestown woman on May 8, 2013, to purchase a vehicle. The woman financed the vehicle through Hanson. The woman went to talk to Hanson on Nov. 8 because she was having financial difficulty in making her payment. The woman alleges Hanson offered to pay the interest on the loan and forgive one loan payment in exchange for her participating in a sexual encounter with him, according to court documents.
The woman filed a report with the Jamestown Police Department about the alleged loan payment offer the same day. Court documents state Jamestown Police Department Sgt. Detective Thomas Nagel interviewed Hanson on Nov. 13 about the alleged encounter between himself and the woman. Nagel questioned Hanson about the financing contract with the woman. Nagel obtained a copy of the contract from Hanson and found alleged violations of North Dakota usury law and the federal government’s Truth in Lending Act.
One alleged violation of the North Dakota usury law was Hanson was charging a 10 percent monthly interest rate on the loan, which translates to a 120 percent annual interest rate. The North Dakota usury law limits the annual interest rate on a loan to 5 1/2 percent as reflected by the average rate of interest payable on U.S. treasury bills maturing in six months.
The Truth in Lending Act regulates contracts for loans and other financing documents. The act requires that certain terms used in a contract for a loan must be defined and terms of a loan be clearly defined.
Nagel said Monday based on his review of this woman’s contract, he was able to get a search warrant for Budget Auto Sales & Service to obtain copies of other financing contracts Hanson had with other customers to either buy a vehicle or pay for vehicle repairs.
Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org