Corona, CA: COURT - Feds claim Corona-based debt collectors illegal

The federal government has gone to court to shut down a Corona-based operation described as a “shake-down debt collection enterprise” that has “unjustly” collected more than $9.4 million in a little more than two years’ operation — with many of its alleged victims actually owing nothing to anyone.

Collectors speaking English and Spanish called people nationwide and falsely represented themselves as process servers, lawyers or legal office staff and claimed the people who picked up the phone were facing a lawsuit over an unpaid debt.

A returned call put the consumer in touch with a collector who turned up the heat with escalated threats including wage garnishment or property seizure. Some collectors claimed they were law enforcement and threatened arrest, according to documents filed in the case.

U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips in Riverside on Oct. 11 granted a temporary restraining order against the businesses named in the Federal Trade Commission civil action. She also appointed a temporary receiver and scheduled another hearing for Monday.

Named as defendants in the FTC filing were several businesses, many of them sharing a couple of addresses in Corona: Rincon Management Services LLC; Prime West Management Recovery LLC; Union Management Services LLC; National Filing Services LLC; Investment Services LLC; Global Filing Services LLC; and Pacific Management Recovery LLC.

Also named in the civil action are two men said in court documents to be behind the companies, Jason R. Begley and Wayne W. Lunsford. “Defendants have operated their deceptive and abusive scheme since March 2009,” the documents say.

Court records show no attorneys representing either the men or the businesses. A listed phone number for a man matching Begley’s name in Riverside reached a solar power company. The operator said no one named Jason Begley worked there. A number for a man matching Lunsford’s name in Sun City was disconnected.

In papers filed in Phillips’ court, an FTC investigator outlined a sophisticated operation with its collectors following a script to deal with questions and challenges from the people they called.

“Defendants represent to the consumer that he can ‘settle’ the case by making an immediate payment to the defendants. In fact, no lawsuit has been filed nor will soon be filed against the consumer. Defendants simply use these tactics in an attempt to unlawfully collect money from the consumer,” the papers state.

1 comment:

RBDC said...

How to reverse boycott debt collectors.

When a debt collector/debt collection/debt buyer company can repeatedly call with the intent of getting money their customers can repeatedly answer or call back with the intent of not giving them any. They need people to pay with as little talk as possible. They don't want to talk with people who know they are never going to pay. Be all talk and no pay. Answer when convenient. Call back. Give no information. Verify nothing. Ask as many questions as you can. Answer none.

Don't ignore/block/report them. It doesn't work. These folks want you to ignore them for as long as you can stand to or until you give them something valuable like money or information. Ignoring them is being their good customer. Sending a cease and desist is giving information. It lets them know you are still alive and remain their good customer. Preparing to initiate unlikely individual legal battles is being their good customer.

Be their bad customer. Make them talk to you fruitlessly for as long as they can stand to or until they stop selecting you as their customer. These companies cannot spend seconds much less minutes on the phone with every person who will never send them a dime. But they don't know who that is. You do. That knowledge is power. Every second you can keep their staff on the phone will render their business less profitable giving them a reason to never call you again.

Calling will not reset your SOL. Making a partial payment will.

One person who does this likes to ask general questions they should but usually won't answer, "May I have the name and address of your agent for service of process?" Calmly and slowly ask them to spell every word in the address. Read it back for verification. Control the pace. If they are rushing then politely ask them to slowly repeat. "Are you a corporation and if so in which state are you incorporated?" Repeat your questions when you don't get direct answers. When they won't answer a question ask, "Would you like to comply with the business and professions codes of your state?" That is usually the point when they hang up on me but if they say they want to comply then begin your questions again.

Repeat while you have the spare time. These folks have many victims and few operators. If everyone calls back but pays nothing the mass auto-dialer business model becomes unprofitable. Don't aid and comfort the enemy by ignoring them. Call! Have a nice long slow friendly chat! Make them hang up first.

Press 2 for Spanish.

There are certainly enough victims to take down debt collectos so ignoring/blocking seems downright Orwellian. Really? We're just going to passively submit and go with a block list or however we manage ignoring an endless stream of unwanted phone calls day after day? No! Unite or remain conquered. Answer/return every call - become well practiced at keeping these folks on the phone - or count yourself not amongst the free.