West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw's office has made agreements with five out-of-state debt collection companies that were unlawfully working in the state. The companies agreed to pay a total of $772,286 in the form of refunds and debt forgiveness. 

McGraw's office reports that all five companies collected Internet payday loans, which are illegal in West Virginia. 

The five companies are: Frontier Financial Group, Henderson, Nev.; United Debt Holding, Castle Rock, Col.; Skutr Financial, Las Vegas, Nev.; USCB Corp., Archibald, Pa.; and Mauconduit & Luna, Hapeville, Ga.

"State laws and regulations governing collection agencies are intended to protect both consumers and legitimate creditors from fraud and abuse," Attorney General Darrell McGraw said in a press release. "The Tax Department has made it clear that debt buyers who buy charged-off debts for collection must comply with collection agency laws."

An investigation revealed that Frontier Financial was collecting debts for unlicensed debt buyers, Skutr Financial and United Debt Holding. Those two firms were attempting to collect on Internet payday loans and charged-off credit card debts.

USCB was licensed to collect in West Virginia but had been collecting charged-off Internet payday loans purchased from various lenders. Mauconduit & Luna was not licensed to collect debt in the state.

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