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Colo. AG settles with high-interest lender who claimed tribal immunity

By Bryan Cohen | Jan 24, 2014


DENVER (Legal Newsline) - Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced a settlement on Wednesday against multiple South Dakota lenders and their principal for allegedly making unlicensed, high-cost loans to Coloradans.

Western Sky Financial LLC, Red Stone Financial LLC, Green Billow LLC, doing business as Four Seasons Cash, Great Sky Finance LLC, Payday Financial LLC, doing business as Lakota Cash and Big Sky Cash, and Martin "Butch" Webb, the companies' principal, allegedly made more than 16,000 loans to consumers throughout Colorado between 2008 and 2012. The loans allegedly carried interest rates of between 90 percent and over 500 percent, with some higher than 10,000 percent.

Suthers' office filed a lawsuit against Webb and his companies in January 2011. Webb and his companies claimed that his companies were not subject to Colorado law by reason of tribal immunity and preemption because he is a Native American and purportedly operated his business from a reservation. In April, the Denver District Court rejected such claims.

"I am pleased to see justice finally be served for thousands of Coloradans," Suthers said. "While I have great respect for the sovereignty of Native American tribes, the courts agreed that Webb and his companies could not hide behind a façade of tribal immunity to make these extremely predatory loans."

Under the terms of a consent judgment, the defendants must pay $565,000 to the state and are permanently prohibited from making or collecting loans to or from Colorado consumers.

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