While we have more than enough cops and criminals stories and certainly one of the most famous is the show known as "THE 10 MOST WANTED", in reality, the most wanted criminals in America today are debt collectors.
Here is the reasoninng behind that statement. It is a well known fact that debt collectors break our laws such as FDCPA
, FCRA and many more consumer protection laws just to start with. They do it with impunity because they know that they can get away with it most of the time. So, in my opinion at least, if a type of business breaks the law and does so constantly simply because they can get away with it then they are criminals, convicted or not.
One of the things that these criminals do is to hide behind spoofed phone numbers when calling consumers about debts that they owe. The Fair Debt Collection Practices act states that it is against the law for a 3rd party debt collector to provide a consumer with false or misleading information. So while I won't attempt to guess what a court of law might say about that, it certainly seems to me that spoofing phone numbers woulld be providing false and misleading information to a consumer. The list of ways that these criminals break the law is almost without end.
As a result of their devious business practices thousands of people have to spend their time and money trying to track them down for whatever reason. Law enforcement officials also have to spend huge amounts of our tax dollars trying to track down and convict the worst of them, sometimes for rather heinous crimes that they have either committed or have threatened to commit.
Many states have seen fit to pass strict license laws to control these hoodlums because they also seem to have a penchant for not paying their own bills. They often solicit debts to collect and either cheat the creditors out of payments they received or they simply fail to pay the creditors at all.
They also watch for clients about to go out of business and severely restrict or slow
down any payment to the failing company and still go after the consumer long after the creditor went belly up, thus pocketing the entire balance collected. We had a huge occurrance of that a few years back when the State of Oklahoma sold their huge University Hospital facility to a major national hospital chain. Untold millions of dollars worth of unpaid hospital bills had been turned over to a local collection agency who just kept on collecting but no longer had a client they could pay the money they collected to. Creditwrench CEO Billie Bauer caught them redhanded and reported the matter to the state who promptly put an end to those shenanigans.
With so many people having to hunt these scalawags down, that easily makes them America's most wanted criminals.
An article written By SCOTT BARANCIK, Times Staff Writer at the St. Petersburg, Florida times Published June 4, 2006 discusses the business practices of one such criminal who goes by the name of Asset Acceptance, one of five publicly traded debt buyers, operates a 52,000-square-foot collections center in Riverview, California. In 2000, the Michigan company sued 25 debtors across Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties. Last year, it sued 3,855.
Over the same period, the types of lawsuits debt buyers usually file - small-claims breach of contract, monies due or accounts suits - rose 56 percent across Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties.
A morning cattle call at the Tampa courthouse shows why.
Hillsborough County Judge Charlotte Anderson reviews small-claims lawsuits every Wednesday. This morning's docket allots 150 minutes for 165 pretrial hearings, more than half involving debt buyers.
In every case, the debt buyer has a lawyer. Not a single accused debtor does. Only two put up a fight.
Sandra A. Thompson, accused of stopping payment on a $2,003 credit card debt in 2001, tells the judge the debt was erased in bankruptcy court. The plaintiff agrees to dismiss Thompson's case on the spot.
Michael A. Johnson says he has "no recollection" of a 2001 credit card debt totaling $2,118. The answer earns him a trip to mediation.
Everyone else goes down without a punch. Each admits owing all or some of his alleged debt. Dozens more automatically lose because they didn't bother coming.
Debt buyers say landslides like this January morning's prove their account records are accurate. Of course, that is a far cry from the truth. The real truth lies in the sad fact that so many people all across the nation simply don't show up for court or even if they do they are usually acting pro se and are totally unprepared to put up an effective fight against another type of trained criminal, the debt collector's attorney who is normally so ill prepared to put up a fight that it is a sad comment on our court system that they allow these bottom feeders to infest our courtrooms at all.
If more of those poor folks who are being sucker punched by such criminal gangs as Asset Acceptance knew about CREDITWRENCH methods they would have learned all about the abusive debt collection practices that were being used against them and they would have learned how do deal with them. They would have a carefully documented list of the abusive phone calls and false & misleading information given them and they probably would have been in Federal court as Plaintiff instead of some sham legal process small claims court as defendants. Many of our students regularly talk about how they have won against scumbag debt collectors in court, some of them time and time again.
Another criminal gang, Athena Funding Group, a Tampa debt buyer, successfully sued Allen Pankow in 2004 over a $924 credit card debt. When Pankow, then a 51-year-old Largo resident, ignored several court orders to disclose his income sources and assets, Athena asked that he be jailed for contempt, court records show.
He was. After his $500 bail was posted, Athena obtained the court's permission to snag it.
"Some people are only motivated by the stick," said Carol Freeland, who chairs the Asset Buyers Division at ACA International, a collections industry trade group.
But that is not true of the scumbags. They are so criminally insane that even getting sued or having to pay huge fines imposed on them by various states attorney generals or by the FTC doesn't faze them one little bit. Like true convicts, they never learn but just keep on committing more and more crimes and the more outrageous the more they laugh about it.
Carol Freeland, a partner in crime at PRM Financial Services in Texas, says her company primarily buys accounts that are near or beyond the statute of limitations three to 15 years, depending on the state. PRM offers to discount the amount owed and transfer the balance to a new credit card.
This scam suckers in a lot of debtors who don't realize the heavy penalties they pay for listening to the siren somg of the con artists who claim that with regular payments, the debtor can improve his credit rating and eventually use the card for limited new purchases. Despite the 18.9 percent interest rate, Freeland says, many debtors are grateful.
What most debtors don't realize is that a person is not legally obligated to repay a debt whose statute of limitations has expired. But transferring the balance to a new credit card resets the clock to zero. If they had just known about the teachings of CREDITWRENCH CEO Billie Bauer they would have been taught how to keep from getting ripped off like that.
They would have known how to meet and defeat such con games.
They would have been taught about the statute of limitations
and would have known that once the statute of limitations was over they could have easily defeated the criminal element at their own game in court and would not even need a lawyer to do it.
Criminal gangs like Asset Acceptance pay just pennies on the dollar for unpaid debts. Last year, for example, Asset Acceptance paid $102-million for $4.2-billion of consumer debt, about 2 1/2 cents per $1. At Asset Recovery Management, the first priority is to quickly sue any debtor whose statute of limitations is nearly up. Others are given roughly six months to respond to the company's initial letter and make a deal, most likely a monthly repayment plan. Those who don't may be sued, too, though cost is an issue.
Debt buyers don't appreciate being portrayed as heartless criminal corporations sucking the marrow of innocents, whose only problem was getting sick, fired or divorced but then that is the song of woe sung by all convicted criminals as they sit in their jail cells where these criminals also belong. They always say it is somebody else's fault that they do what they do.
Carol Freeland is still steaming over a recent episode of the television show Boston Legal in which a law firm employee complains she owes her credit card lender $50,000. After shattering the bank's window in frustration, the employee rightfully complains about the card's high fees and interest rate. Her boss, a lawyer, promptly responds with a hard hitting answer that scares the bank's attorney into erasing the debt.
Debt buyers are in business to make money, of course, but they say the debtor benefits as well - with flexible repayment terms, an improved credit rating, even relief from a guilty conscience. The debtor may be able to borrow money more cheaply in the future, too. Of course, little if any benefit is actually accrued to the poor debtor. Although they might be conned into feeling better after having first been made to feel shame for not having paid their bills their credit rating is not improved as claimed.What people who are in debt need is not a "good guy, bad guy" sermon. What they need is Creditwrench.