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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – Stimulus checks and unemployment benefits are starting to arrive, a boon for some workers and their families, but also a tremendous opportunity for banks and creditors who can grab these funds.

Lawmakers, including Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, have warned of the problem and its impact on some of the most financially fragile people during this pandemic.

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After being fired from her job at a restaurant, Nicole Garcia said she planned to use her stimulus check for groceries before seeing …

Nicole Garcia is one of those people. She had a hard time and took out a loan from Speedy Cash in November. Garcia made payments, but she was fired about a month ago when the restaurant where she worked closed.

She said she planned to use her stimulus check and unemployment benefits for a fairly basic purpose – grocery shopping. Then, Garcia said, the lender slipped her stimulus and unemployment money while she slept.

“They will forcefully withdraw money from your account at 1 a.m. and essentially leave you homeless and hungry,” she told KCTV5 News.

Garcia admits that she is behind on her payments and said that when she called to complain about what had happened, Speedy Cash pointed out that fact.

“‘You defaulted on your loan, and it’s your responsibility,” she recalls, adding that she “was 100% okay” with them. “I was like, ‘This is my loan that I have to repay, it’s my responsibility.’ But I said that with the current situation happening, in the context of a national emergency and a pandemic, you would not make an exception not to physically withdraw a lump sum of money? ”

Garcia’s account records show Speedy Cash seized $ 1,937.62, leaving him only $ 8.17.

“Everything, all my money was gone,” she recalls. “At first I thought it was a mistake. I was like, ‘Oh, that can’t be fair.’

This is what worries lawmakers who have warned that something like this could and would happen, with banks and creditors seizing stimulus checks and turning money meant to help people like Garcia survive into a backdoor bailout for them. creditors.

Hawley sent a letter to the Treasury Department over a week ago, noting that “the Treasury has the power – and must exercise it – to also protect the CARES Act direct payments from seizure to satisfy orders garnishment for private debts “.

KCTV5 News has contacted Speedy Cash regarding this practice. Company officials said they have no way of knowing when customers might receive a stimulus check and they are definitely not targeting them.

'Where is my money?'  Problems Keeping Direct Deposit Stimulus Payments From Reaching Americans On Time

The company says it still offers easy, fast, and user-friendly cash loans, although Garcia wonders this after being forced to settle with the lender.

“It’s money that people basically live or die on,” she said. “I just think it’s a horrible way to run a business or any kind of business.”

Garcia said that in all of this mess, she is grateful to her roommates and her former employer for providing meals to the laid-off workers so they don’t go hungry.

On Friday night, Garcia offered an update by texting KCTV5 News “I just got a call from Speedy Cash, they are paying me back the full amount and reducing my loan to $ 150”.

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