Spokane’s Little Loan Shoppe in the black, report says

THURSDAY, MAY 20, 2010, 5:55 P.M.

Little Loan Shoppe, facing allegations it operated a Ponzi scheme, has consistently operated in the black since filing bankruptcy in July 2009, according to an examiner appointed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Charles Hall did not review the operations of Little Loan Shoppe for the years prior to the bankruptcy filing, when hundreds of investors poured money into the Spokane-based company, which operated an online payday loan business.

The state of Washington, which sued Little Loan Shoppe in March, alleges U.S. and Canadian investors lost more than $50 million, money on which they had been promised returns as high as 60 percent.

Little Loan Shoppe filed bankruptcy as LLS America LLC, one of dozens of companies owned and run by Colbert resident Doris Nelson. Another, Team Spirit America, provides the manpower, management and equipment for Little Loan Shoppe, services for which it is paid a five percent surcharge over cost.

In his report to the court, consolidation of the two companies is among several recommendations made by Hall, who faulted their record-keeping, and recommended a board of directors be added to help oversee their affairs.

He said Nelson has the ability to manage the business, but may be distracted by litigation and a federal investigation that surfaced in April when Internal Revenue Service agents removed 95 boxes of records from Team Spirit American offices on West Broadway Avenue.

LLS America posted net income of $236,750 in March, the most recent month for which a report has been filed with the court.

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