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How about it, Mr. Giedgowd?

December 3, 2008

Over the years, lenders on have regularly been stunned by what has been widely perceived a long and consistent string of poor legal choices – and the topic of Prosper’s legal competence is frequently a target of ridicule at

We don’t often hear from Ed Giedgowd, Prosper’s General Counsel.  In fact, he does not even respond to letters from attorneys retained by Prosper’s customers, including when advised that the consequences for not responding would include litigation.

So, is Mr. Giedgowd as incompetent and inexperienced as some lenders claim he must be, based on his track-record?  Is this his first job out of Law School at the University of Phoenix – or was he all Prosper could afford to hire?  Did he come by his JD degree by way of identity theft?

I don’t know the answers to any of the harsh allegations listed above, but this whole question of whether or not Prosper knew (or should reasonably have known) that what they were doing was illegal, made me poke around a bit.

Here is what I found (note: emphasis is mine).

About Ed Giedgowd

Chief Compliance Officer and General Counsel

Mr. Giedgowd brings over 22 years of experience in dealing with consumer credit issues to his role at Prosper Marketplace, Inc. Most recently, he served as General Counsel at E-LOAN from October 1999 until June of 2005. Prior to that, Mr. Giedgowd was the head of the consumer finance practice group at the San Francisco law firm of Severson & Werson P.C., where he practiced for 17 years. With Severson & Werson P.C. he specialized in all aspects of consumer finance law, including regulatory compliance, mortgage and auto finance, licensing, the development of multistate direct and indirect lending programs. He earned a J.D. from Boston College in 1982 and a BA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1978.

So, riddle me this Mr. Giedgowd…you wield the grand title of “Chief Compliance Officer” and you have been working in this field for 22 years, including 17 years at a law firm where you specialized in all aspects of consumer finance law, including regulatory compliance, licensing and the development of multistate lending programs?

How could it have taken you three years, a Cease & Desist from the SEC and a $1 Million fine from the NASAA to make you realize you were selling unlicensed securities?

What did you make of what happened to Zopa?  I am being told that Prosper executives had regular contact with them during their attempts to launch their platform.  You knew what regulatory issues they were facing.  Prosper and Zopa even had some of the same financial backers.  I am even being told that a verbal agreement existed between Prosper and Zopa to not criticize each other in public.

It will be interesting to read how Mr. Giedgowd will respond to the Court summons.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Roger Steciak permalink
    December 28, 2008 2:26 pm

    It will be interesting to hear Prosper’s legal theory about why it thought it was not subject to the securities registration laws.

    It will be even more interesting to learn why so many lenders allowed themselves to be suckered into bidding on high-risk no-collateral loans with their hard-earned money (versus using only a portion of their “risk capital” to test out the idea before jumping in with larger sums of money).

    People-to-people lending has existed for centuries, but on a local level where all the participants know each other. Taking this type of lending to a national level where the participants don’t know each other is a great social experiment made possible by the Internet. But whether this is a good way to deploy one’s money still has not been proven (nor has it been disproved yet, either). We live in interesting times.

    Where were the individual lenders when it came to doing their due diligence before they put their hard-earned money at risk? Is the Prosper lender community a community of savvy lenders who do their homework and learn from their mistakes? Or is the Prosper lender community a community of mindless sheep that let themselves be forever herded around by their own fantasies of getting rich quick? The world wants to know.

  2. Red permalink
    September 4, 2009 4:20 am

    And the comment by Mr. Steciak has exactly what to do with the lawsuit?


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