Feds: Payday lender charged 700 percent interest on loans

Lawyers for Hallinan say he surrendered to authorities Thursday, but they otherwise declined to comment

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The head of a payday lending enterprise accused of charging as much as 700 percent interest on short-term loans has been indicted on federal racketeering charges in Philadelphia.

Prosecutors say 75-year-old Villanova resident Charles M. Hallinan led a group that preyed on customers as they took in revenues of nearly $700 million from 2008 to 2013.

The indictment unsealed Thursday says Hallinan operated under names that included Easy Cash, My Payday Advance and Instant Cash USA.

Authorities say the group tried to evade state consumer protection laws by looping in a Native American tribe as the supposed lender so it could claim tribal immunity from state regulations.

Lawyers for Hallinan say he surrendered to authorities Thursday, but they otherwise declined to comment. A court hearing is expected Thursday afternoon.

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