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Soldiers get $92M in debt relief under settlement

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Thirteen states have settled an investigation into improper lending with a court agreement that is expected to provide $92 million in debt relief for 17,800 U.S. military personnel.

State Attorney General Greg Zoeller said the settlement will erase $1.5 million of bad debt for 261 military members from Indiana.

Deceptive practices by Rome Finance Co., more recently doing business as Colfax Capital Corp. and Culver Capital LLC, based in California and Georgia, included failing to accurately disclose charges and interest rates, New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Tuesday. Authorities also alleged the lenders helped retailers inflate prices, with repayments taken from soldiers' paychecks.

Authorities say military personnel will keep financed merchandise like computers and gaming systems with debt forgiven, including $2.2 million for more than 550 New York residents.

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also investigated. The states involved are Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont.

Signed settlement documents were filed last month in federal bankruptcy court in California. The lending companies filed for reorganization in 2008 in a case that was converted last year to a liquidation proceeding.

"Rome Finance lured service members in with the promise of instant financing on expensive electronics, then masked the finance charges with inflated prices in marketing materials and later withheld key information on monthly bills," said Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Today, their long run of picking the pockets of our military has come to an ignominious end."

Jeremy Katz, attorney for the bankruptcy trustee, declined to comment Tuesday about the announced settlement. He said the bankruptcy case isn't over yet.

 

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  1. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  2. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  3. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  4. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  5. Different rules for different folks....

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