LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Legal Newsline) — Arkansas Attorney
General Leslie Rutledge has announced her office has settled a
consumer protection lawsuit against Western Sky Financial, CashCall Inc., WS
Funding, Martin A. Webb and J. Paul Reddam that had alleged the entities
conspired to offer illegal payday loans.
The defendants purportedly offered payday loans with
interest rates as high as 342 percent, which violates state law. Western Sky
attempted to allege that, because it identifies as a Native American tribal
entity, it is protected by tribal sovereign immunity. The state charged,
however, that Western Sky is not protected because it is not owned or operated
by a tribe. Additionally, consumers in Arkansas not on tribal lands used the
website to apply for loans.
The alleged scheme involved Western Sky originating payday
loans and then assigning them to WS Funding to collect. CashCall and its
subsidiaries ran most of Western Sky’s operations.
“Arkansans who were in a time of need sought the online
lending services of the defendants and were regrettably handed more debt,” Rutledge
said. “Although traditional storefront payday lending has been eliminated in
Arkansas, the risk to Arkansans from online payday lenders is quite high. My
office will continue to protect consumers against these illegal activities and
will notify those who are eligible to receive restitution payments under this