FTC Court Order Bans Debt Collector from Industry
8/31/2017 11:50 AM
Court to suspend $9.39 million judgment against defendant due to his inability to pay.
The Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement with the final defendant in an illegal debt collection operation stemming from alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and FTC Act.
The FTC filed a complaint against the defendant, Anthony Coppola, and several co-defendants in May 2015 alleging they made false threats to consumers, contacted third parties about consumers’ debts and failed to identify themselves as debt collectors, among other offenses.
The other defendants, according to a news release from the FTC, Audubon Financial Bureau LLC, Unified Global Group LLC, ARM WNY LLC and Domenico D’Angelo – were banned from the debt collection industry under a settlement reached in September 2016.
The FTC filed a stipulated order for permanent injunction and monetary judgment, approved by the FTC 2-0, outlining the settlement for Coppola in the U.S. District Court- Western District of New York on Aug. 24.
Coppola is also banned from debt collection activities and “prohibited from profiting from consumers’ personal information and failing to dispose of it properly,” as a result of the settlement.
The court imposed a $9.39 million judgment against Coppola that will be suspended due to his inability to pay.
The co-defendants in this case were banned from the industry by the FTC as part of Operation Collection Protection, a coordinated federal-state enforcement initiative targeting deceptive and abusive debt collection practices, ACA International previously reported.
ACA maintains that legitimate debt collectors operate lawfully and respectfully and take great efforts to ensure compliance. On the other hand, fraudulent and unlawful actors posing as debt collectors have no interest in complying with the law; instead they harm consumers and generate a mistrust of debt collectors which unfairly tarnishes the entire industry.
It is critical that the FTC continue to prioritize egregious conduct and debt collection scam operations that cause the most harm to consumers, and differentiate those bad actors from the overwhelming majority of debt collectors who operate lawfully, take consumer protection seriously and play a unique and much-needed role in our credit-based economy.
ACA International supports industry and law enforcement efforts to target these bad actors and eradicate them from the consumer financial marketplace. ACA has long led the effort to stop criminal debt collection activity and has worked consistently with the FTC and other regulators to help them understand the complex issues that legitimate debt collectors face.
ACA looks forward to working with the FTC and other government agencies to continue to rid the marketplace of bad actors who have no intention of complying with the law, causing substantial harm to consumers and legitimate debt collectors.
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