Some Representative Consumer Protection Cases
Vince has experience and an award-winning history of protecting consumers and pursuing corporate wrongdoers for defrauding individuals, homeowners, and small business owners, including cases and investigations at the national, statewide and local level.
State v. QuikCash-
In 2009, Vince investigated and brought a major fraud lawsuit against out-of-state payday lender QuikCash, accusing this lender of deceptive business practices that harmed Arizona consumers. This lawsuit sought to stop the payday lender from doing business in Arizona, $5 million in restitution and to have the court set aside debt collection judgments the lender allegedly obtained against defaulting borrowers through deceptive practices. Among other things, the lawsuit alleged that the payday lender made a mockery of Arizona’s justice court system by obtaining an assembly line of deceptively obtained judgments against consumers, and defrauded thousands of Arizonans.
News coverage: Arizona Daily Star article “State AG files suit against QuikCash”
Blog4Arizona post: Vince Rabago filed suit against payday lender QuikCash on Friday.
Mortgage and Foreclosure Fraud:
State v. AZI Rent2Own dba Arizona Investments –
Vince brought a major real estate investment and mortgage fraud case involving Rent-to-Own homebuyers that were allegedly defrauded while seeking to obtain the American dream of home ownership. The case alleged that the fraud was connected to more than one hundred (100) foreclosures in Southern Arizona, and hundreds of rent-to-own homebuyers who never were able to buy their homes. As part of the case, Vince reached a settlement that shut down a Tucson mortgage banking firm, prohibiting the owner from ever being a mortgage banker in Arizona. Eventually, two of the key players in the scheme were convicted of fraud and sentenced to prison in unrelated criminal proceedings.
TV News coverage: Lawsuit filed against Tucson real estate agents and others.
News coverage: Arizona Daily Star story “Fraud suit filed against Tucson real estate group.”
State v. HomeVestors (Harvest Properties dba HomeVestors) –
Vince successfully sued HomeVestors “We Buy Ugly Homes” franchise for alleged deceptive equity stripping, mortgage fraud and other fraudulent practices in an alleged foreclosure rescue scam. Vince reached a $350,000 settlement and consent judgment.
Press release: Foreclosure Fraud Settlement.
Statewide Fraud Investigations:
State v. Tucson College-
Vince successfully pursued a lawsuit alleging deceptive business practices and advertising in connection with this vocational school’s Criminal Justice Program. This affected 56 students who had been seeking careers as police officers, probation officers, and in other law enforcement fields. Vince successfully obtained refunds for all students, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans refunds as a result of the investigation.
Press release: $325,000 settlement with Tucson College.
Arizona Daily Star article: “Tucson College to pay $325,000 over alleged deceptive practices.”
Lawyers and settlements article: “Tucson College pays $325,000 in advertising lawsuit.”
Phoenix Business Journal article: “Tucson College settles ‘deceptive practices’ case for $325,000.”
2008 Joint Legislative Budget Committee Report noting case.
Statewide Student Loan Investigation and Code of Conduct –
Vince served as a member of the AG’s Student Loan Fraud legal team that conducted a statewide investigation of deceptive student loan practices and developed a statewide Student Loan Code of Conduct.
Article: Arizona Daily Wildcat: “Ariz. Attorney General to launch student loan investigation.”
Examples of schools adopting the Code:
NorVergence national multi-state investigation and related court settlements –
Vince was lead counsel for the State of Arizona in a nationwide fraud investigation involving small businesses who were defrauded victims that were still being required to make rental payments on a fake telecommunications device that was worthless. The national investigation and various court settlements resulted in millions of dollars of debt forgiveness for small businesses nationally, including significant debt relief for affected small Arizona businesses and non-profits.
MySpace and Facebook internet safety agreements –
Vince was lead counsel for the state of Arizona in a multi-state investigation into the internet safety practices and representations of MySpace and Facebook. The multi-state group reached a ground-breaking agreement which resulted in industry-wide principles for social networking safety, in order to better protect consumer and specifically children, from online sexual predators.
Arizona Capitol Times article: “AGs push for increased safety on MySpace.com.”
Arizona Republic article: “Ariz. joins in news rules on MySpace.”
Press release regarding Agreement with Facebook to better protect kids.
Sony BMG case
Vince was the lead counsel for the State of Arizona in a multi-state attorney general investigation of global music company Sony BMG for allegedly including secret software on their music CDs in 2005, that would download and hide itself in the “root” of your computer to regulate how many copies that would be made of the music. This software, however, created a serious internet vulnerability of possible exploitation from computer hackers. The multi-state investigation team reached a $5 million settlement with Sony BMG, with $310,000 for Arizona, which included provisions for privacy protection and unlimited refunds/restitution for harmed consumers.
Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and Appellate Experience
Vince has extensive multi-jurisdiction prosecution experience in criminal cases, based on his career as a state criminal prosecutor in California and Arizona, and related federal court experience in post-conviction constitutional and civil litigation in U.S. District Court in California and Arizona (San Diego, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Tucson, etc). As a prosecutor, Vince has worked on felony and misdemeanor cases, and has appeared in court at all levels of the state and federal court system. Vince has worked on legal cases at the highest levels of the court system, including representation on matters in the Arizona Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court in Washington D.C. Vince’s legal work as a criminal prosecutor has resulted in professional recognition and awards, and his work in appellate and post-conviction cases has resulted in numerous published cases that have established the case law in California, Arizona, and the federal system.
Some of Vince’s notable published constitutional or criminal cases include the following:
State of Arizona v. Roque, 219 Ariz. 193 (Arizona Supreme Court, 2006) (first degree murder case; internationally publicized murder of innocent Sikh in Phoenix after 9/11)
Stuard v. Stewart, 401 F.3d 1064 (9th Cir. 2005) (Ten armed robberies, four aggravated assaults; case involved constitutional issues regarding speedy trial and guilty plea issues)
State of Arizona v. Prasertphong, 210 Ariz. 496 (Arizona Supreme Court, 2005) (Triple homicide in the well publicized case known as the Pizza Hut murders)
State v. Monaco, 207 Ariz. 75 (Arizona Court of Appeal, 2004) (drug sales & sentencing)
State of Arizona v. Darelli, 205 Ariz. 458 (Arizona Court of Appeal, 2003) (interpretation of trial court discretion and criminal plea bargain issues)
In re Emiliano M., 31 Cal.4th 510 (California Supreme Court, 2003) (case involving juvenile law offender law and California Prop. 21, the Gang Violence and Juvenile Crime Prevention Act of 1998)
Mendez v. Small, 298 F.3d 1154 (9th Cir. 2002) (case involving constitutional law and the upholding of a conviction for failure to register)
Anderson v. Calderon,232 F.3d 1053 (9th Circuit, 2000) (case involving murder conviction and sentence for murderer on California death row)
People v. Lucero, 23 Cal.4th 692 (California Supreme Court, 2000) (death penalty case involving double homicide)
People v. Regalado, 78 Cal.App.4th 1056 (California Court of Appeal, 2000) (case involving California evidence law and use of prior conduct to prove criminal acts)
People v. Demara, 41 Cal.App.4th 448 (California Court of Appeal, 1995) (sentencing issues in auto theft case)