Closure Leaves Finance Company Clients Worried
The abrupt closure of Budget Finance Company in New Martinsville has left clients worried about their investments and both local and state officials seeking answers.
An answering machine at the business, located on Riverview Lane, stated Nov. 18 the company is “closed indefinitely.” The business has not returned calls seeking comment.
Wetzel County Prosecutor Tim Haught said his office has received complaints from investors. He has been trying to reach someone with the company’s legal counsel to determine whether they plan on reopening and whether they intend to honor investment contracts.
“I have not gotten a response,” Haught said.
The state Auditor’s Office’s Securities Commission has an open investigation into Budget Finance Company, said associate counsel Vincent Smith of the State Auditor’s Securities Commission.
Smith would not provide any details about the investigation.
Customer Darlene Haught Cross of Pine Grove said she is concerned about her hard-earned assets. Cross said her issues with the financial company began around Oct. 20 when she contacted Budget Finance about withdrawing money from her account and was told the soonest she could receive her funds was Nov. 16.
Cross said she never received the money in the mail, so she called Budget Finance and an answering machine message stated the institution was “closed indefinitely.”
Cross said she was left speechless and has been a customer of Budget Finance since the 1970s.
“We never heard of anybody having any problems,” she said. “I think it’s a poor way they’ve handled the situation.”
Haught asks that customers who have a complaint regarding their account at Budget Finance call his office at 304-455-8220, the state Attorney General’s Consumer Rights Division at 304-558-8986 or the State Auditor’s Securities Commission at 304-558-2251.
According to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office, Budget Finance’s director is Carla Knapp, who is also listed as the company’s vice president and treasurer.
Donna S. Brown serves as the company’s president and Sharon Midcap is listed as the company’s secretary, according to the state Secretary of State’s records.