Business

New York AG sues Internet lenders

The lenders violate New York’s usury laws, says Eric Schneiderman.

The lenders violate New York’s usury laws, says Eric Schneiderman.

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has sued three Internet lenders, alleging violations of state usury laws with high interest rates.

The suit claims Western Sky Financial LLC, CashCall Inc., and WS Funding LLC and owners Martin Webb and J. Paul Reddam charged annual interest rates for personal loans at rates ranging from 89 percent to more than 355 percent.

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Investigators say that since 2010, they have made at least 17,970 loans to New Yorkers for more than $38 million, carrying more than $185 million in finance charges.

Authorities say New York law sets the maximum rate at 16 percent for most lenders not licensed by the state, including these companies in South Dakota and California.

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The suit filed Monday in Manhattan seeks restitution.

Attorney Katya Jestin says Indian-owned Western Sky isn’t subject to New York jurisdiction, while CashCall and affiliate WS Funding buy and service loans and are not lenders subject to the state usury restrictions.

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