Attorney General Josh Shapiro creates new Consumer Financial Protection Unit to protect residents from scams

Josh Shapiro

HARRISBURG — State Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Thursday that he is creating a Consumer Financial Protection Unit to protect Pennsylvania consumers from financial scams.

Nicholas Smyth, a consumer protection attorney who helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, was appointed by Shapiro to lead the initiative.

Smyth will serve as an Assitant Director of the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protaction, focusing on financial initiatives, Shapiro’s office said in a press release. The effort will focus on lenders wthat prey on seniors, families with students, and military service members — including for-profit colleges and mortgage and student loan servicers.

 

“Protecting the public from financial scams is a key priority of mine, and Nick Smyth will help us expand our capacity to bring complex cases against financial companies that try to rip off Pennsylvanians,” Shapiro said in the release. “If you think you’ve been scammed, let my Office know at 1-800-441-2555 or scam@attorneygeneral.gov. Our Consumer Protection team is here to fight on behalf of Pennsylvanians and make sure they get what they paid for and get their money back if they don’t.”

 

Smyth brings expertise in auto finance, student lending, debt collection and issues impacting military families. At the CFPB, he led the investigation of the subprime auto lender Drivetime, which resulted in an $8 million settlement in 2014. He worked on CFPB v. ITT Educational Services, Inc., the CFPB’s first enforcement action against a for-profit college. Smyth also worked on an investigation of U.S. Bank’s MILES Program, a subprime auto finance program for military service members, which led to $6.5 million in consent orders.

Before joining the CFPB as its fourth employee, Smyth was part of a team at the U.S. Treasury Department that drafted and revised the CFPB’s enabling act, the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act.)

“I am honored to join the Attorney General’s terrific consumer protection team,” Smyth said. “The Consumer Protection Bureau saves Pennsylvania families millions of dollars each year, and I am excited to contribute to this great work.”