Exploring the Debt Collection Industry

August 18, 2006

Debt collector gets jail for extortion

Filed under: News — budhibbs @ 10:48 am

Threats included arrest, deportation By Ray HuardUNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER August 14, 2006  

Strong-arm tactics were standard procedure for a
La Mesa man who ran a debt collection business out of
El Cajon, posing at times as a lawyer or investigator for the district attorney.
 

Edward Mitchell Davis told people he contacted that police were on their way to arrest them and the only way to avoid jail was to pay him immediately for debts the people often didn’t even owe, prosecutors said.   If he thought they were immigrants,
Davis told them they could be deported if they didn’t pay or could be arrested at the airport when they next returned from a trip abroad, according to court records.
Davis,55, was sentenced to 270 days in jail, fined $499 and placed on probation for five years on Aug. 4 after pleading guilty in October to extortion and attempted extortion, prosecutor Tricia Pummill said.
 

As part of a plea agreement,
Davis promised to repay $40,864 to people he pressured to pay, Pummill said.
Davis also agreed to repay anyone else who comes forward with proof that they made payments to his company, ARM Financial, because of extortion.
 


Davis “was collecting bills too aggressively,” said his lawyer, William McGuigan.
 

“He’s not a violent person or an evil person,” McGuigan said. He said
Davis has repaid money he collected improperly.
 

The debts
Davis collected “were all legitimate but some were too old,” McGuigan said.
 

Pummill said the unpaid debts
Davis collected often were on long-dormant or inactive accounts, some going back more than 10 years.
 

“Most of these people didn’t even have debts,” Pummill said. “It had been paid off or forgiven or they (debtors) had declared bankruptcy and it had been discharged.”  


Davis’ undoing came from a former employee who was sick of pressuring people to pay and a man
Davis threatened with arrest and deportation to get him to pay an old bill.
 

Investigators first learned of
Davis in December 2003 when a man called prosecutors to complain about what he considered coercive collection practices.
 

The man said that someone who identified himself as a lawyer by the name of Ed Smith called him about a $1,500 debt from 1991, according to court records.  

The so-called lawyer, later identified by investigators as
Davis, told the man that he was facing criminal charges over the unpaid debt and had to pay $7,000 to cover the debt and court fees, according to the records.
 

While investigators were investigating his complaint, a man who once worked for Davis called the District Attorney’s Office in April 2004 to alert it to what he said were unfair business practices Davis instructed him to use.  

The former employee said he told debtors to call
Davis’ company about a debt.
Davis would then tell the debtors that the court action could be stopped if they made immediate arrangements to pay the debt through
Davis.
 

Pummill said
Davis’ high-pressure, illegal debt collection practices are all too common.
 

“It’s a huge problem,” Pummill said.

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11 Comments

  1. $499 in fines and 270 days in jail (less good behavior), please. It is just part of the cost of doing business, folks.

    Comment by Lintz — August 19, 2006 @ 12:25 pm

  2. Just another example of how little government officals care about people/consumer rights and enforcing those laws.

    Comment by AverageJoe — August 21, 2006 @ 1:45 pm

  3. It is just disgusting!!!!!

    Comment by Newly Learned — August 22, 2006 @ 8:10 am

  4. Hey, this jerk wad called me about an almost 15 year old debt that had long since expired and pulled all of this crap on me, but I fought back. He was SCREAMING AT ME, saying, “WHY DID YOU DEFRAUD MY CLIENT!?” and then he would dodge me and weave when I asked him if he was a lawyer, saying, “This is my client and I represent them.” What a scum bag. He pissed me off so bad I started talking to an attorney in San Diego who wanted badly to sue the guy for me. Wow, I love reading this here. What an asshat.

    Comment by Mike — September 6, 2006 @ 1:41 am

  5. Bass and Associates in Florida behave the same way. http://anthonylemons.blogspot.com

    Comment by AnthonyLemons — February 27, 2007 @ 8:30 am

  6. I found another way to deal with abusive collection agencies. Fight Back. Keep detailed records of phone calls and any mail you receive. Find a contingency lawyer, make your complaint and let the lawyer have a field day with them. Didn’t cost me a dime and they had to pay me. They paid the court costs, and lawyer fees. And it took less than a month. You’re not as powerless as they want you to think you are and they’re not as all powerful as they want you to think they are. Hit back where it hurts them in the wallet.

    Comment by Fight Back — December 1, 2007 @ 2:14 am

  7. While this case is an example of a collector actually using abusive techniques, many debtors claim they have been harassed just to avoid paying debts they actually owe. You can file sue a collection agency IF you have strong evidence. If not, the agency is bound to file a counterclaim against you and that can be even worse that the original debt. Also, you don’t usually get money from the agency, the attorney does.

    Comment by Steve — December 12, 2007 @ 12:48 pm

  8. I am just trying , to figure out, how someone can possibly say debt collectors are horrible.
    IF you CAN NOT afford to pay your bills. DO NOT apply for a credit card!!! Give me a break here. its rediculous to think that consumers, will sit around and bash debt collectors for doing there job. If people payed there bills they would not have to deal with letters and phone calls.

    Comment by karen — February 3, 2008 @ 9:25 pm

  9. Hey Karen,

    I think we both agree that Medical Debt is not a credit transaction. Medical Debt is due to a Medical Emergency. One Medical Misfortune can cause you many years of Medical Debt. For example, a car accident, a child in need of heart surgery, Cancer.

    Medical Service Providers often have to write-off patients debts. This is because Insurance Providers get away with paying the Medical Provider whatever they feel like. Medical Providers are therefore forced to accept whatever the Insurance Provider will pay.

    Many-times, the Insurance Provider will flat out deny payment that should be, or was covered, in writing. What’s worse is that denial of coverage comes usually after the Medical Service has been provided. This leaves the Medical Service Provider and Patent’s between a rock and a hard spot.

    Many times, the Patients (Debtor)is unaware that the services weren’t fully covered by their Insurance. Even when the Patient is aware, in a Medical Emergency there is nothing you can do but go to the hospital for care.

    Often the client has been out of work because of their medical need. For this reason they lack the money to pay the Medical Service Provider. Plus Medical Bills are outrageously unfair to Patients begin with.

    Medical Service Providers also charge ridiculously high deductibles. This means that the Patient has to pay the full portion of their deductible, while the Insurance Provider gets out of paying their fair share. This also means that the Patient often has two bills; one from the Medical Service Provider, and one from their deductible.

    The Medical Service Provider is be lured into selling their charged-off accounts to 3rd Party Debt Collectors. The 3rd Party Debt Collectors will buy the old-debt and profit from someones medical misfortune.

    Is that fair? Does this help you figure out why people think Debt Collectors are Horrible?

    Comment by J. — February 4, 2008 @ 10:50 am

  10. Categorizing all debtors as irresponsible deadbeats is no different than categorizing all debt collectors as “horrible”.

    Comment by impishredhead — February 4, 2008 @ 1:32 pm

  11. Please scumbag defenders of collections agencies, respond to this.
    1)fake debt is created by Fifth Third bacnk due to an encoding error.
    2)Additional fees are added to debt.
    3)Fifth third admidts fault, but doesn’t fix issue.
    4)Seven years later they sell debt on black market.
    5)Weltman Wienberg Reise and Satin collection agency posing as a law firm goes phishing for personal info.
    6)When taken to court they lie to get continuance as they know they can’t even validate the debt.
    7)When I return to court four months later I’m informed that the court date was change without notifying me and a default judgment is issued.
    8)Lien is placed on home without notification causing sale of home to fail.
    9)Real estate market collapses costing me all my equity by the time I find a new buyer over 1 year later!!!
    10) Thugs are sent to home to threaten and intimidate me and my family(including children and my mother).
    11) FTC FBI etc do nothing to protect consumers against bank errors and criminal collection agencies.
    12) Broke and frustrated and fearing for my life after 8 years of harassment and threats from WWR&S I’m forced to leave the state.
    13) Idiots and jerks who don’t know what they are talking about say stupid things like “why didn’t you pay your bills etc”

    Go ahead, defend these practices, people who work for collection agencies, murderers, rapists and child molesters are one and the same in my book.

    Comment by Thomas — May 28, 2008 @ 8:05 pm


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