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N.Y. attorney general probes debt settlement firms

NEW YORK, May 7 (Reuters) - Investigators are seeking information from 14 debt settlement firms nationwide over their fee structures and what kind of relief they are providing to consumers in the financial crisis, New York’s top legal officer said on Thursday.

“Companies in the debt settlement industry often prey upon consumers who find themselves unable to keep up with credit card payments during these difficult economic times,” State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

The office wanted to “rein in a renegade industry and to ensure that people are not victimized when faced with financial hardship.”

The statement said subpoenas had been issued to American Debt Foundation Inc, American Financial Service, Consumer Debt Solutions, Credit Answers LLC, Debt Remedy Solutions LLC, Debt Settlement America, Debt Settlement USA, Debtmerica Relief, DMB Financial LLC, Freedom Debt Relief, New Era Debt Solutions, New Horizons Debt Relief Inc, Preferred Financial Services Inc, U.S. Financial Management Inc and the Allegro Law Firm. (Reporting by Grant McCool; Editing by Derek Caney)