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AG settles $3.5M debt of 995 soldiers

ALBANY — New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says his office has reached agreement with a finance company to clear $3.5 million of debt for 995 soldiers who shopped at a retailer outside the Army’s Fort Drum that sold computers and other electronics at inflated prices and credit terms.

He says Rome Finance Co. Inc. of California also agreed through its bankruptcy trustee to take steps to restore the credit histories of hundreds of people.

A state Supreme Court lawsuit filed last year by the attorney general’s office accuses electronics retailer SmartBuy and affiliates of defrauding service personnel through “wildly inflated” prices and high interest rates paid directly from military paychecks.

SmartBuy has denied wrongdoing. It has also operated near posts in North Carolina, Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Georgia, California and Tennessee.