12 OYS: FBI investigating Augusta loan company; employees fired

News 12 at 6 o'clock / August 1, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- It is not the kind of news Alain Chasse was expecting concerning a local business.

"I had no idea. First time I've heard of it, wow," said Chasse who has a loan with the company.

Sarah Paquin is just as surprised. "That's a total shock to me. I've dealt with them for like the last four years, and I never expected that," said Paquin.

An official with Colonial Finance Company in Augusta has confirmed what a News 12 investigation found days ago. The FBI is looking into possible misappropriation of funds at its Broad Street branch.

"Well I notice I see new faces in there. I don't see the faces that used to be in there," said another customer who did not want to reveal her name.

The loan company's regional manager also confirms to On Your Side that four employees including a manager have been fired. It is still unclear if these people and maybe more are involved. Paquin was coming to set up a payment plan on her loan. "I'm kind of wondering now if that's been compromised in any way, because they have all that information," Paquin said.

The loan company could not say how or if any customers' personal information may have been compromised. At least not until the federal investigation is over. News 12 asked whether the loan company would notify customers in writing about the situation. We were told that too, also hinges on what the FBI finds. Paquin said until then, she is going to pay a lot more attention to her credit report.

"Just keep an eye on my financial records. That's all I can really do right now, and if I see anything weird, get it investigated," Paquin said.

A manager would not tell us how many customers may be impacted, but said they are fully cooperating with federal agents.

The FBI is not commenting either.

We contacted the Georgia Industrial Loan Association which regulates Colonial Finance Company.

They actually were not aware of the FBI investigation until News 12 brought it to their attention. They said the are prepared to look into it.

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