On November 23, 2021, New York Attorney General Letitia James (“New York AG”) announced that her office entered into an agreement with a debt collection company to resolve allegations that the company violated the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, 15 USC § 1692 et seq. (“FDCPA”), the Consumer Financial Protection Act, 12 U.S.C. § 5552 (“CFPA”), and various state statutes–including New York Executive Law § 63(12) and New York GBL Articles 22-A and 29-H. Specifically, the NY AG alleged that the firm engaged in illegal debt collection tactics that included falsely implying that collectors were attorneys or law enforcement, threatening to suspend consumer’s driver’s licenses, and threatening criminal action.
Under the terms of the agreement, the company and its affiliates may not engage or attempt to engage in consumer debt collection, brokering, or settlement, as well as consumer lending credit services, and payment processing. Further, pursuant to the order, the company and its affiliates must wind down and dissolve within six months from the effective date of the agreement. Additionally, the company and its affiliates must pay $1.2 million to the State of New York for costs, penalties, restitution, damages, and disgorgement to be distributed at the New York AG Office’s sole discretion.