A lawsuit filed by New York and 12 other states against California-based Rome Finance for improper lending has been settled. Rome Finance will be shutting down, liquidating its assets, and forgiving $92 million in debt to 17,800 U.S. military personnel.
That $92 million is based on Rome’s inflated accounts receivable. They’ll be forgiving many debts that should never have been on their books.
New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says deceptive practices by Rome Finance Co. based in California and Georgia included failing to accurately disclose charges and interest rates and helping retailers inflate prices, with repayments taken from soldiers’ paychecks.
Authorities say military personnel will keep financed merchandise like computers and gaming systems with debt forgiven, including $2.2 million for more than 550 New York residents.
Other states are Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont.
Rome teamed with outside-the-gate retailers to exploit service men and women:
That’s what happened recently with one business, SmartBuy, an electronics retailer working with Rome Finance Company, Inc., in California. SmartBuy operated kiosks in Salmon Run Mall specifically to attract military customers. Curiously, if you went to SmartBuy and tried to pay with cash or your own credit card, they wouldn’t take it. According to the Watertown Daily Times, the only way you could pay is through their in-house financing company. And only via direct payroll deduction, or allotment.
This is a very encouraging piece of news showing that the men and women giving everything to defend this country will not be taken advantage of, and those who try to do so will pay dearly. Our soldiers deserve the best, and the fact that there are companies out there that would try to swindle them out of money is shameful.