Chattanooga Businessman Brown Indicted In Manhattan In Payday Loan "Ripoff"

Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Dr. Steve Steele and Carey Brown at 2012 press conference
Dr. Steve Steele and Carey Brown at 2012 press conference

Carey Brown, a former used car salesman in Rossville who made millions of dollars in numerous business including payday loans, has been indicted on usury charges in Manhattan along with associates Ronald Beaver and Joanna Temple.

Beaver was arraigned on Monday and released on $100,00 bond.

Brown and Ms. Temple were set to be arraigned later this week.

Prosecutors said the loans, which were often in small amounts, were at up to 300 percent interest and generated overseas.

In 2012, Brown was among those at a press conference at Miller Plaza announcing a new Chattanooga-based Covenant Values Foundation that was pledging to make $1 billion in grants to worthy causes.

Brown, who appeared with Dr. Steve Steele, said, "Covenant Values Foundation is making a Billion Dollar Pledge. Our goal is to give $1 billion in grants to support people in need. Through this monumental pledge, which can only be made with God's participation, we commit to making a marked difference and aim to inspire others to a lifetime of giving."

The first grant was presented to On Point, a youth development program that helps teens abstain from risky behavior. A $25,000 grant was coupled with a pledge to match up to $100,000 in new money donated to the organization during April.

The same matching pledge was made to five other Chattanooga area charities: the Community Kitchen, the Dawson McAllister Association which has a teen suicide prevention outreach, Precept Ministries, Teen Challenge and Tennessee Temple University.

Brown attended Tennessee Temple, and he said while he was a student there and living "in the projects" that he had a $300 car that frequently caught on fire. He said a mechanic fixed the car and he was able to sell it for $450. He said he went to an auto auction in LaFayette to buy a second car and then began turning vehicles. He finally opened his Rossville lot and then expanded to other lots with an offer to finance the vehicles.

At the time, Brown had ownership interest in more than 14 businesses, including ACH Federal, AREA203 Digital, Credit Payment Services, Support Seven and Terenine Technology Solutions.

He said he had the idea of utilizing his call center, marketing and technology departments as stand-along firms that offer their services to ministries and others.

Dr. Steele earlier founded Kingdom Site Ministries, a language translation and video technology solutions company that links people throughout the world.

Hugh Maclellan was listed as an advisor to the foundation.

Dr. Steele said the foundation was geared to be a central point where philanthropists can give knowing the money will go to worthy causes.

Brown said he was led to have a giving spirit by the example of the founder of the Hersey company. He grew up near the Hershey plant.

The Brown companies laid off hundreds of employees last year as the investigation moved forward..


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