CHARLESTON – West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw has announced his office has filed lawsuits against multiple companies that give cash advances to customers over the Internet and five companies that collect on those advances.

The lawsuits, filed in Kanawha Circuit Court, target the following Internet payday lenders:

* Cash Advance Now doing business as of Miami, Fla.

* Debt Doctor, LLC doing business as Magnum Z, LLC of Wentzville, Mo.

* Direct ROI doing business as Cashwest Payday Loans of Mesa, Ariz.

* E Smart Credit Network doing business as of Miami

* Island Payday, LLC doing business as of Ogden, Utah

* Platinum Finance Company, LLC doing business as of Wilmington, Del.

* Sonic Cash, LLC doing business as Sonic Cash Online Payday of Boise, Idaho

"Internet payday loan providers are the loan sharks of today," McGraw said in a statement.

The five collection companies McGraw alleges work with the Internet payday lenders are:

* A.C.A. Recovery, Inc. of Ridgewood, N.J.

* Capital Collections, LLC of Miami

* Covenant Management Group, LLC of Gainesville, Ga.

* Oasis Financial Solutions, LLC of Orange Park, Fla.

* Westbury Ventures of Wilmington, Del.

The lawsuits against the lenders charge that the companies, in addition to providing the illegal service of payday loans in West Virginia, also are charging outrageous interest rates on the loans.

The allowable rate in the state, according to McGraw, is 18 percent. The Internet payday lenders often charge interest rates 45 times higher than that.

In the lawsuits, McGraw is asking the judge to order the companies to comply with investigative subpoenas issued by his office and to stop doing business in the state.

McGraw's office began investigating the Internet payday lenders in 2005, his office said. So far, the office has completed 75 investigations, bringing about $1.7 million in refunds to customers and cancelled debts for 6,612 West Virginians.

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