Debt collector abuse is what drives folks to call us
bankruptcy attorneys in the first place.
They make outrageous threats, e.g. we are coming to
take your car, we will have you arrested, we are telling your employer, how would your parents feel about
you not paying your bills? and so on.
For the first time, the Federal Government has actually arrested abusive debt collectors.
Can we expect more such busts?
“We are far from finished looking at the seedy side of debt collection,” said Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan. “It affects too many people.”
There are plenty of targets out there.
I have heard all of these stories, and worse, that the sheriff is on the way, you committed a felony, here is what the folks who were busted were saying:
Prosecutors say employees of the company would routinely bully, threaten and trick thousands of victims by falsely calling themselves a “detective” or an “investigator” for local law enforcement agencies. Typically, they would call borrowers and say they had committed a crime such as “check fraud” and that if they failed to make immediate payment, a warrant would be issued for their arrest.
The debt collectors would read from scripts to threaten people with lines such as: “Who are we? We are a government task force set up to investigate and collect info on individuals involved in Depository Account Fraud and theft by deception.”
Making it worse, there are lots of people harassed for debts they do not owe.
Debt buying companies buy these debts in batches of thousands and tens of thousands, and do not bother to check if the debt is legitimate, has been discharged in bankruptcy, or verify they have the right person.
Many of them violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act routinely, calculating that they will not be caught enough to hurt the bottom line.
That is, they believe they will make more money intimidating people illegally than it will cost them the few times they get caught, by consumer attorneys like me.
Maybe the prospect of arrest will slow them down.