On November 16, the New York attorney general announced a settlement with an illegal debt collection scheme operation and its operator (collectively, “respondents”) to resolve allegations that the respondents used illegal tactics to collect consumer debt, which included false threats of criminal action, wage garnishment, driver’s license suspension, and lawsuits. According to the AG, the operator started his debt collection career collecting debts with a network of New York-based debt collectors that settled with the CFPB and New York AG in 2019 to resolve allegations that the defendants engaged in improper debt collection tactics in violation of the CFPA, the FDCPA, and various New York laws. (Covered by InfoBytes here.) Using different names, the operator allegedly continued to use deceptive and illegal threats to collect on consumer debts. In addition, the AG claimed the operator was a debt broker, “selling debts to and placing debts for collection with other collectors that engaged in egregious violations of the law.”
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the respondents, among other things, must pay $1.2 million to the office of the AG in restitution and penalties and must dissolve all of the associated debt collection companies. The respondents are also permanently banned from engaging in consumer debt collection, consumer debt brokering, consumer lending, debt settlement, credit repair services, and payment processing.