PHILADELPHIA (AP) – An attorney for the head of a Pennsylvania-based payday lending enterprise accused of charging more than 700 percent interest on short-term loans says his client never broke the law.
Prosecutors at the opening of the federal racketeering trial Thursday charged that 76-year-old Charles M. Hallinan and his lawyer conspired to evade state regulations that cap interest rates.
Authorities say Hallinan partnered with Native American tribes and a bank as the supposed lenders so his lending businesses could claim immunity from state rules. His companies took in nearly $700 million from 2008 to 2013 under names such as Easy Cash, My Payday Advance and Instant Cash USA.
Hallinan’s attorney says his client is “squeaky clean” and that his businesses never ran afoul of loan regulations.
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