Houston Debt Buyer Ordered to Pay $25M in Civil Penalties
According to a recent article by the Houston Chronicle, a debt buyer and the companies he controls have been ordered to pay a staggering $25 million in penalties after being found guilty of dishonest collection practices. These unscrupulous practices included suing people who lived far outside of Houston and Harris County, in cities including El Paso and Laredo, knowing that the defendants would be unlikely to appear in court to defend themselves. This would result in default judgments against the debtors, allowing the debt buyer to freeze the defendant’s assets and collect money from those who may not have even legally owed the debt. This is a violation of Texas consumer protection laws which make it clear that debt collection lawsuits can only be filed in the county where either the loan documents were signed or where the debtor lives.
After a two-week trial, it took the jury two days to come to a decision. The debt buyer, an attorney of 31 years, had previously been disciplined by the Texas State Bar for other ethical violations.
The Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is increasingly scrutinizing the controversial practices of debt collectors that have become problematic to the industry and consumers. If you believe that your rights have been violated by a debt collector, we want to hear about it.
Contact a Chicago consumer protection attorney at Atlas Consumer Law for aggressive and skilled representation. We can be reached at (312) 313-1613.