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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal and state prosecutors have filed a lawsuit against the owners and operators of buy-here, pay here used-car dealerships in Charlotte, saying they engaged in predatory lending practices against black customers.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that the lawsuit was filed by its office, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of North Carolina and the N.C. Department of Justice.

Their lawsuit alleges that defendants Auto Fare Inc., Southeastern Auto Corp. and Zudhi A. Saadeh violated federal law by intentionally targeting black customers for unfair and predatory sale terms.

Prosecutors also said Saadeh has used racial slurs to refer to blacks and made statements saying blacks have fewer credit options, making them more likely to accept the predatory contracts.

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