NY gets $9.5M from NC firm over soldier debt fraud
Published 9:20 pm Monday, November 12, 2012
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has reached a $9.5 million settlement with retailer SmartBuy and its affiliated companies over debt fraud aimed at soldiers.
Schneiderman says SmartBuy operated from a kiosk and small storefront at Salmon Run Mall near the Fort Drum Army post and ruined the credit of thousands of soldiers through fraudulent charges. The settlement, along with an earlier one with SmartBuy, wipes out $12.9 million in debt for more than 4,000 soldiers nationwide.
Schneiderman said Monday that SmartBuy salespeople talked soldiers into payment contracts with hidden fees and exorbitant interest.
Fayetteville, N.C.-based SmartBuy closed its local operations after Schneiderman demanded it stop deceptive practices and reimburse soldiers.
A lawyer for the company says it was satisfied with the settlement that protects soldiers’ credit ratings.