Bryan Cohen May 2, 2014, 1:47pm

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced agreements on Wednesday with four out-of-state companies to resolve allegations of financing retail installment obligations at usurious rates of interest.

The Pennsylvania-based Paramount Capital Group Inc., the Colorado-based Highlands Premier Acceptance Corporation, the California-based Duvera Billing Services LLC and the California-based, doing business as, allegedly charged interest rates of up to 55 percent on RIOs for New Yorkers seeking financing for elective medical and surgical procedures.

The state's Banking Laws require that a company selling RIOs must be licensed as a sales finance company or lender. The four companies allegedly failed to obtain licenses to finance RIOs in New York and failed to keep interest rates below the legal limit of 16 percent.

"Sales finance and other loan companies that bypass our state's licensing and usury laws and target New York consumers will be held accountable," Schneiderman said. "This behavior is particularly egregious when it targets vulnerable consumers seeking medical treatment with high-interest loans."

Under the terms of the agreement, Paramount Capital Group, Highlands Premier Acceptance Corporation, Duvera Billing Services and agreed to recast the RIOs to the legal interest rate and provide approximately $230,000 in repayments or credits to 317 New York consumers. The companies must also cease all conduct as unlicensed sales finance companies in New York, ensure references to the transactions are deleted from consumers' credit records and collectively pay $35,000 in penalties.

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