BUFFALO, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - Court orders have been obtained by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo barring three principals of a western New York debt collection operation from being involved in the debt collection business.
Additionally, Cuomo secured $275,000 in restitution on behalf of those victimized by the company's scare tactics.
The court order names Tobias Boyland, Kayla Pritchett and Dorian Wills, who were principals of at least nine western New York debt collection companies that allegedly employed scare tactics to threaten and intimidate consumers into pay debts. In many cases, no debts were owed. Cuomo shut down the operation in 2009.
Boyland, a convicted felon, Pritchett and Wills ran numerous debt collection companies and operated out of at least four western New York locations. Their debt collection agencies operated under several names in the Buffalo area, including Central Resource Management, Final Claims Asset Locators, Final Control Asset Locators, Interchange Payment Solutions, Next Step Services, Portfolio Asset Assurance, Silverbay Services and Teleport.
"These individuals used a business model of intimidation, illegal impersonation, and predatory tactics to go after people's money under the guise of debt collection," Cuomo said.
"The leaders of the scheme are now barred from the business of debt collection, and they have to pay back consumers who were terrified and coerced into paying money that many did not even owe."
The court order follows hundreds of consumer complaints filed nationwide against the company, alleging that Boyland's employees were in violation of state and federal laws by regularly posing as law enforcement officials and threatening to arrest and throw consumers in jail if they did not make arrangements to pay immediately. Employees also allegedly falsely informed consumers that they were being sued in civil court.
An investigation by Cuomo revealed that payments were demanded by the debt collectors for non-existent debts and attempts were made to collect payments for debts that had already passed the statute of limitations.
The investigation also found that the debt collectors substantially inflated the amount owed on actual debts and used technology to disguise the addresses and telephone numbers.
Twelve employees of the defendants' debt collection operation were arrested and charged with grand larceny as part of a criminal probe in September 2009.