Bryan Cohen Jun. 10, 2014, 6:29pm

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Legal Newsline) - Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel filed a lawsuit on Monday against three online payday lending companies and their owners, alleging they illegally provided loans with interest as high as 782 percent to Arkansans.

Chris Kamberis and John Kamberis, the owners of King Marketing LLC, Prestige Group Marketing LLC and SLR Ridge LLC, allegedly marketed illegal payday loans from entities purported to be based in the Caribbean island nation of Nevis. The Nevis-based entities allegedly serve no substantive role in marketing, processing or collecting the loans and are used to avoid U.S. enforcement action.

Most of the companies' business is allegedly conducted by agents or employees in Kansas City, Mo.

"My office is committed to rooting out illegal payday lending in Arkansas, whether a company is operating in the state or claims to be based in some foreign country," McDaniel said. "Consumers gain absolutely no benefit from short-term loans with exorbitant interest rates. These types of loans typically only push consumers further into debt."

McDaniel alleges the Kamberis brothers and their companies issued short-term loans to Arkansas consumers with interest rates that were significantly higher than the 17 percent limit set by state law. In one alleged instance, a consumer was given an annual rate of 782.14 percent. The defendants allegedly took at least $264,585 in illegal fees and interest from Arkansans.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction to prohibit the defendants from issuing payday loans in Arkansas and an order to cancel all outstanding loan contracts and obligations. The suit also seeks the payment of restitution, civil penalties and attorney fees.

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