Protect Arizona Now’s Opposition

Linda Bentley, Sonoran News, Jul. 7

ARIZONA—The formal opposition to the Protect Arizona Now (PAN) initiative is a Political Action Committee called the Statue of Liberty Coalition Against Protect Arizona Now (SLC), whose chairman is Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox.

They have spent all but $76.45 of the $38,480 they’ve received in contributions, $15,000 of which was paid to Joel Wright and Associates for polling, with $23,000 to Wright Consulting, at the same address in Strawberry, for consulting fees. STC spent $267.55 on video equipment rentals. The rest was paid to Wells Fargo for bank fees.

Over half of STC’s contributions came from two sources,

Los Abogados, the currently defunct Hispanic Bar Association of Maricopa County, contributed a total of $10,000.

The nonprofit organization was dissolved by the Arizona Corporation Commission on January 13, 2004 for failure to file their last two annual reports.

Members include Rep. Ben Miranda, D-16, who called Rep. Randy Graf, R-30, a “racist and an uneducated fool” because of his support of the PAN initiative, which seeks to require proof of citizenship to register to vote, show proof of identity when voting and proof of eligibility to receive non-federally mandated welfare benefits.

Cambrio Express, listed on the campaign finance report as a check-cashing service, also contributed $10,000.

There is no record of a business by the name of Cambrio Express listed with the Arizona Corporation Commission.

However there is a listing for Cambrio Express under the Cash Now.com website, calling it “a foreign exchange business that can be operated as a stand-alone business or in conjunction with a Cash Now or Cash Express business.”

Cash Now-USA.com sells licensing opportunities that offer payday loans, check cashing and other services out of a storefront, office or -based setting via the internet.

On Nov. 22 2002, the State of Washington Department of Financial Institutions, Securities Division issued a cease and desist order against Cash Now-USA.com, headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, its affiliates, and it’s Chief Executive Officer Miro Zecevic, demanding they immediately cease directing offers of franchises to Washington residents by means of the internet.

Zecevic, listed as the CEO and managing member of a host of Cash Now.com companies and variations thereof, operates from a variety of websites engaged in business activities related to the franchising of Cash Now and Cash Now Plus businesses. Cash Now Plus businesses are retail outlets, which offer small, short-term consumer loans, known as “payday loans,” check cashing, money transfers, money wiring, mail box rentals, overnight delivery, tax return preparation, bill payment, fax photo copying, walk-in credit applications, credit card applications and secured credit cards.

On Nov. 25, 2002 the State of Washington Department of Financial Institutions issued another cease and desist order, demanding Cash Now.com and affiliates immediately cease making offers of unregistered securities to Washington residents.

In August 2003, Cash Now-USA.com, Zecevic and every entity and person directly or indirectly controlled or organized by or on his behalf, were ordered prohibited by the State of Wisconsin Division of Securities “from making or causing to be made to any person or entity in Wisconsin any further offers of sales of franchises unless and until such franchises are registered . . . ”

Also in 2003, the Office of the Illinois Attorney General issued a Notice of Violation to Cash Now, relating to its sale of an unregistered franchise in Illinois. Pursuant to that notice, Cash Now paid a $1,500 fine.

On Aug. 11, 2003, the Securities Department of the Illinois Secretary of State issued a Temporary Order of Prohibition to Cash Now, prohibiting them from selling securities in or from Illinois.

On Oct. 23, 2003, Cash Now Plus.com, LLC filed an application for registration of an offer to sell Cash Now Plus franchises in California.

On Nov. 3, 2003, Cash Now.com, LLC filed an application for registration of an offer to sell Cash Now franchises in California.

However, from January through September of 2003, Cash Now-USA.com, Inc. sold Cash Now or Cash Now Plus franchises to at least five residents of California.

The franchises were substantially similar to the Cash Now and Cash Now Plus franchises, which Cash Now.com, LLC and Cash Now Plus.com, LLC have applied to sell in California.

One of the five prospective franchise purchasers received a letter dated Jan. 23, 2003, signed by Zecevic, inviting him to make a formal application to become a Cash Now franchisee.

The offer and sale of franchises by Cash Now-USA.com, Inc. in California was not registered under the Franchise Investment Law.

The franchise purchasers were not told of the prior administrative actions that had been taken against Cash Now-USA.com, Inc. and its affiliates by other states.

The California Corporations Commissioner issued an order on March 30, 2004 to require Cash Now-USA.com, Inc., requiring it to desist and refrain from the further offer or sale of those franchises unless and until the offer has been duly registered under the Franchise Investment Law.

Cash Now-USA.com, Inc. has been and currently is offering securities to residents of California in issuer transactions from its websites and through related communications. The securities are in the form of promissory notes yielding purported monthly income payments at the rate of 12 to 24 percent per year from the factoring of its franchisees’ receivables, which are in the form of payday loans.

The investments are explained at a company website page titled “Investment Info” at www.cashnow.com/cn_invinfo.shtml. The investments were further explained by a company representative, in an email to a prospective California investor in October 2003, as follows:

“Basically if you invest 25 thousand dollars we will give you 20 percent per annum. Anything over 100 thousand dollars we would give you 22 percent. Anything above that would be (sic) have to be discussed. We provide you with 12 post-dated checks all at once. The terms for your investment would mature in one year, at that point you could decide whether to leave it with Cash Now or pull out your investment. All of our investments are registered with the government and we provide you with a promissory note.”

Although Cash Now-USA.com, Inc. and its personnel represented the investments were registered with the government, they, in fact, were not.

The California Corporation Commission determined the offer or sale of franchises pursuant to their pending applications would constitute misrepresentations to, or deceit or fraud of the purchasers, based upon the prior sales of unregistered franchises by applicant Cash Now.com, LLC, its CEO and managing member Zecevic and its affiliate Cash Now-USA.com, Inc., citing most or all of those sales were made by means of concealment of administrative orders previously issued against them and their affiliates by regulatory agencies in other states.

The commissioner determined that an order should be issued to deny the effectiveness of the franchise applications of Cash Now.com, LLC and Cash Now Plus.com, LLC.

It appears greed, not race, is the real issue when it comes down to the PAN initiative. Those who profit from illegal aliens just hate to see them go.

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