(Legal Newsline) - The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced March 24 that American
Municipal Services Corporation and its owners, Lawrence Bergman and Gregory
Pitchford, have agreed to stop engaging in allegedly illegal collection tactics.
According to the commission, the defendants also will pay $350,000 in penalties.
Municipal Services collects debts owed to municipalities. The operation
collects various municipal debts -- court fines, parking tickets, and debts for
utility bills and other services -- on behalf of 500 municipalities in multiple
states. These states include Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana,
Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas.
to the FTC, the operation used a “Warrant Enforcement Division” or “Municipal
Enforcement Division” letterhead sent to consumers to falsely associate itself
with government agencies. The FTC charged the defendants with violations of the
FTC Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
voted 2-0 to authorize the staff to file the complaint and proposed stipulated
final order. The order was entered March 21 by the U.S. District Court for
the Eastern District of Texas.