Thursday, November 1, 2012
Tape Recordings Nail Debt Collectors In Flagrant Violations Of Federal Law (Part 3)
Federal law prohibits debt collectors from making any false or misleading statements to an alleged debtor. Collectors also are prohibited from using any statements that abuse or harass an alleged debtor.
We have tape recordings that prove collectors violated both laws in an effort to collect a debt I allegedly owed to American Express. (See video at the end of this post.) In the course of discovery in a lawsuit my wife and I filed for rampant violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), we found that collectors had no information showing I owed the debt. In fact, they had no information showing I had ever possessed the American Express card in question.
Our case is particularly alarming because it does not involve a fly-by-night collection outfit--and there are plenty of those out there. The collectors who contacted us represented one of the largest financial institutions in the world. The voice you hear on the audio belongs to a collector who worked for the Birmingham law firm Ingram and Associates. A Pennsylvania-based firm called NCO had placed my alleged debt with Ingram. NCO is owned by One Equity Partners, the private-investment arm of JPMorgan Chase--and Chase is the largest bank in the United States.
That means the abusive and unlawful actions that you are about to witness go to the very top of the American financial food chain. Our experience shows that corrupt federal judges are willing to rule contrary to fact and law in order to let enormous banks bully consumers.
In the video below, a collector named Tracy Mize says her boss, attorney Angie Ingram, was "hired by American Express" to sue me. Discovery later proved that statement to be false. Ingram was hired by NCO, and she is a member of the NCO Attorney Network; Ingram admitted that in an affidavit. That means Mize's statement is a violation of 15 U.S.C. 1692e, which states: "A debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt."
Mize was just getting warmed up with her unlawful statements. I told her that Angie Ingram had an obligation under Rule 8.10 of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct to report misconduct by lawyers that had sullied our financial picture. After all, Mize and her supervisor, Jann Blalock, admitted that they had 14 pages of notes about our experience with lawyers, based on information they had unlawfully obtained from my wife, a non-party to the alleged debt--and I had offered to tell Ingram more in a face-to-face meeting. Mize acknowledged that lawyers have an obligation under the law to report misconduct by other lawyers, but she said Ingram would not be following through on that obligation because Mize was not going to share our information with her.
When I pressed Mize on the issue, she stated: "You can't go any further. Ms. Ingram is not going to be involved in your, uh, witch hunt, okay?" That was a violation of 15 U.S.C. 1692d, which holds: "A debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt."
Translation: Debt collectors can not use insults and threats. But they did in this case, on multiple occasions.
If a collector that represents JPMorgan Chase violates the law so casually, imagine what those representing small-time outfits must pull. You can catch a rogue collector "in the act" at the video below. Previously in our series:
Tape Recordings Nail Debt Collectors In Flagrant Violations Of Federal Law (Part 1)
Tape Recordings Nail Debt Collectors In Flagrant Violations Of Federal Law (Part 2)