Debt Collectors Arrested After Multi-Million Dollar Scam
Can debt collectors pretend to be someone they are not or threaten legal action to collect a debt?
Millions of Americans are behind on their bills. Whether they are medical, credit card or student loan, in this economy it can be hard to keep up. Making it even more difficult is the number of debt collection scams that exist. The Federal government has recently stopped another scheme in its tracks.
In a collaborative effort, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFBP) and United States Attorney’s Office worked together to uncover and stop a scheme that effected over 5,000 Americans. The founder of Georgia collections agency, John Todd Williams of Williams, Scott & Associates, and six of his employees were arrested on allegations of deceptive and coercive debt collection tactics. Allegedly, collectors used illegal strategies to induce consumers into making payments to them. For example, they are accused of claiming to be affiliated with local law enforcement and even the Federal government. They then used this to deceive individuals into believing they had committed a crime and to threaten legal action against them should they not make a payment. The agency, its founder and employees are accused of collecting over $4 million in funds using these illegal methods.
The actions taken by Williams, Scott & Associates qualify as debt collections harassment. Although instances of this type of conduct have increased since the recession, it is still illegal. A few years ago, the CFPB was given the right to supervise the actions of some of the country’s largest debt collections operations to ensure that consumers are being treated fairly under the law. Even though new consumer protections like these have been implemented, it seems that government agencies might have to start working together to get the illegal activity under control.
The attorneys at Fitzgerald Campbell represent California consumers in all types of debt collections cases. If you believe that you have been subject to an illegal debt collection tactic or debt collections harassment you might be entitled to damages, court costs and attorneys fees. Contact us for a consultation by calling (866) 927-8289 or emailing us at Info@debtorprotectors.com.