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Minn. AG sues Calif. lending firm over rate 'ruse'

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A California-based Internet lender faces court action in Minnesota over short-term loan rates and alleged efforts to use tribal sovereign immunity to skirt state laws.

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson and Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman filed a lawsuit Thursday against CashCall Inc. and two of its subsidiaries. They contend the companies use an "elaborate ruse'' to get borrowers on board before imposing illegally high rates on loans. .

What complicates the case is that the companies work through Indian tribes to claim sovereignty from state consumer protection laws.

The lawsuit alleges the loans come with annual percentage rates of up to 342 percent and high origination fees.

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