NY Gets Settlement for Soldiers Defrauded by Virginia Firm

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says his office has reached a $540,000 settlement with a Virginia-based retailer and financing firm that fraudulently charged hundreds of military members.

Schneiderman says Wednesday that the settlement with Norfolk-based Freedom Stores will clear debt and judgments charged to 257 soldiers from New York serving at various locations across the U.S.

The state says the company used deceptive practices to lure the soldiers into high-interest contracts for consumer purchases, a move that ruined the credit ratings of many of the service members. Schneiderman says the negative credit reports in some cases threatened security clearances or ended military careers.

He says the now-defunct company was investigated for “deceptively selling them consumer goods at wildly inflated prices” and locking the soldiers into revolving credit agreements with undisclosed fees and high interest.

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