As fair debt collection attorneys in Santa Ana, we were pleased to see justice done in one of the most egregious cases of debt collection abuse we've read about. According to a Sept. 29 article in the Buffalo News, 11 employees of a debt collection agency in that city have been arrested for using threats and intimidation to collect debts that in many cases were not actually owed. A twelfth person remains at large, and New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said additional charges may be filed after the announcement of the case prompted more than 1,000 additional complaints.
The arrested people all worked for one or more collection agencies owned by Tobias Boyland, a convicted felon who had already been arrested on firearms charges. According to the article, Boyland's employees and companies are accused of impersonating law enforcement officers in order to convince consumers to wire them money, give them credit card numbers or authorize withdrawals from checking accounts. Often, the complaint said, the debts were inflated, had already been discharged in bankruptcy, were too old to collect or had never existed in the first place. To collect the debts, they lied to consumers, threatening to arrest them at work or have their children taken away -- which are legally impossible for any debt. They are also accused of falsely claiming debtors were already being sued and disguising their location to make their claims more believable.
The article says the employees are charged with multiple counts of grand larceny for extracting tens of thousands of dollars from "terrified" consumers. In the experience of our Ontario debt collection abuse lawyers, it's rare for prosecutors to bring criminal charges against collection agencies or their employees, which may show the magnitude of their fraud. However, because all of these practices violate the federal and New York state Fair Debt Collection Practices Acts, state prosecutors and ordinary citizens can also take action against them through a FDCPA lawsuit. In fact, the article notes that Cuomo has sued debt collectors before to enforce consumers' legal rights, and had already sued Boyland and his companies to shut them down.
Howard Law LLP helps consumers sue collection agencies to protect their rights under the FDCPA. Even if you are not fortunate enough to have a criminal case brought against the debt collector, our Mission Viejo debt collection harassment lawyers can seek justice on your behalf through the civil courts. The FDCPA and California's state law version, the Rosenthal FDCPA, set strict requirements for debt collectors' behavior. Among other things, debt collectors may not use deceit or misrepresentation, call continuously, report false information on a credit report or use curse words or other verbal abuse. When debt collectors violate these rules -- which they do routinely -- consumers can sue them for $1,000 per violation, attorney fees and compensation for all of the losses their illegal behavior caused.
If you believe you were illegally abused or harassed by debt collectors and you'd like to talk with an experienced attorney about your options, you should call Howard Law. For a free and completely confidential consultation, you can reach us toll-free at 1-800-872-5925 or contact us through the Internet.