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Gazette Premium Content Soldiers get $92 million in debt relief under settlement

Associated Press Published: July 29, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. — 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.

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.

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.

An attorney for the bankruptcy trustee declined immediate comment Tuesday.

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