Key figure in expanded prison probe netted big dollars from payday lending groups


  

Madison businessman Irb Benjamin, indicted last week in connection with paying bribes in exchange for prison contracts, made $198,000 in recent years lobbying for Mississippi’s check cashing & payday loan industry.

Benjamin pleaded not guilty Aug. 21 to federal bribery and kickback charges that could land him in prison for 20 years and a $250,000 fine for each of the multiple bribery counts. Benjamin also faces the forfeiture of any money gained from the alleged scheme, authorities said.

Records of the Secretary of State show Benjamin received $66,000 annually from 2012 through 2014 from the Consumer Lending Alliance and the Financial Services Center of Mississippi, two advocacy organizations for check cashers and payday loan lenders.

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