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Patriarch of Payday Loans Said to Face U.S. Racketeering Probe

In nearly two decades of payday lending, Charlie Hallinan stayed one step ahead of state laws while amassing a fortune -- one high-interest loan at a time.

Now U.S. prosecutors are preparing a racketeering case against him, gathering evidence in an attempt to show he conspired to evade usury laws, according to four people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the proceedings are secret. One of the payday lenders Hallinan partnered with faces a potentially lengthy prison term after pleading guilty Wednesday to racketeering charges.