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Ohio Judge Grants Injunction Stopping Allegedly False Affidavits From Debt Collection Giant

October 8, 2009

Our Fullerton fair debt collection lawyers wrote recently about a lawsuit by the state of Maryland against San Diego-based Encore Capital and its subsidiaries, including Midland Credit Management, for illegal debt collection practices. We were therefore not surprised to see an Oct. 4 article in the Toledo Blade about a lawsuit against the companies out of Ohio, alleging a different kind of legal violation. Andrea Schwartzentraub of Sandusky, Ohio sued Midland Credit Management and Midland Funding LLC for sending her a false affidavit that formed the basis of its attempt to collect $4,100 from her. As part of the case, the judge issued an injunction forbidding the companies from issuing the injunctions, a move that affects debtors and lawsuits across the U.S.

According to the article, the judge found that employees of Encore had routinely signed affidavits in support of lawsuits against debtors affirming that they had "personal knowledge" of the debts in question -- when they did not. Rather, the judge said, who signed the affidavits was "an entirely random act" based on when the documents came out of the printer. This makes all of the affidavits from these companies false, the article said, so the collection attempts were invalid and illegal. The decision could throw many other collection lawsuits from around the country into question, if they are based on the same false affidavits. Schwartzentraub's attorney said that millions already paid by debtors sued with the false documents may have to be paid back.

As Fontana debt collection abuse attorneys, we are pleased to see more consumers standing up for their rights in the face of abusive practices by debt collectors. Collection agencies have always had a cavalier attitude about following the law, and the current economic downturn is making it harder to collect, which has led to even more abuses. Debt collectors use these affidavits to start collection lawsuits, frequently inflating the amount and relying on consumers' ignorance of their rights or shame to keep them from objecting to the added amount. If the target does not object, the court can declare the debt valid without any further testimony or information. But as with all affidavits, the person signing must be telling the truth or the document is false and useless -- and consumers can fight and win their cases.

Howard Law LLP represents consumers throughout California who are fighting illegal and unfair practices by collection agencies. Our Temecula fair debt collection lawyers can step in and protect consumers like Schwartzentraub who are being sued for a debt that's not theirs, not the correct amount or not legally and fairly documented. We also help victims of debt collectors' violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which strictly regulates how debt collectors may behave. For example, consumers may sue under the FDCPA if debt collectors call very early or very late; call continuously; use abusive or profane language; or use any kind of misrepresentation or deceit to try to collect.

If you believe debt collectors may have violated your rights or the rights of someone you love and you'd like to learn more, you should call Howard Law for help. To set up a free consultation today, you can reach us at 1-800-872-5925 or contact us through our Web site.