The FTC and New York Attorney General recently settled a case alleging deceptive and unlawful debt collection practices in violation of the FTC Act, FDCPA, and New York state law. Pursuant to the settlement, the individual who ran the debt collection business, who neither admitted nor denied the allegations in the Complaint, has been permanently banned from the debt collection business and prohibited from misleading consumers about any financial products, and a $1.7 million judgment has been entered against him, with all but $300,000 of that amount suspended due to inability to pay.
WBK covered the filing of the Complaint, in October 2018, here. The FTC and NY AG alleged that several affiliated defendants were operating a debt collection scheme in which false, deceptive, and abusive tactics were employed with consumers in order to extract payments for alleged debts. These alleged tactics included having collection employees contact consumers by telephone and identify themselves as a county sheriff’s office or process server personnel. In some instances, consumers were allegedly threatened with civil or criminal legal proceedings. Consumers were told they could resolve issues by making payments to the defendants, and the amounts of the debts were allegedly often inflated by hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Several remaining defendants were hit with a default judgment order for failing to appear, answer, or otherwise defend in the underlying action.