ATLANTA (Legal Newsline) — Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced Feb. 8 that Western Sky Financial LLC, CashCall Inc. and related entities have agreed to pay $40 million in monetary relief to Georgia consumers.
The defendants allegedly sold more than 18,000 loans to borrowers in Georgia at astronomical interest rates that ranged from 140 percent to 340 percent. Since 2010 the defendants have racked up $32 million in interest and fees from those 18,000 consumers, the state says.
On Oct. 31, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that out-of-state internet lenders must abide by the state’s Payday Lending Act when dealing with consumers in the state. Under Georgia’s laws, lenders cannot make loans under $3,000 unless they are licensed under Georgia or federal law. For such loans, lenders cannot charge interest rates of higher than 10 percent.
“This settlement sends a strong message that our office will not tolerate unscrupulous lenders who prey on consumers by charging illegal interest and fees,” Carr said.
“Our team has been working diligently on this case since 2013, and we are proud that we were able to stop on-going collection efforts and provide refunds of illegally charged interest and fees to our citizens. This case should serve as a major warning for those looking to violate the laws designed to protect our Georgia consumers.”
Handling the case for Georgia was counsel for legal policy Timothy Butler along with assistant attorneys general Charlene Swartz, Monica Sullivan and Andrew Chesser.