A U.S. district court halted operations in Atlanta and Cleveland last week at the request of the FTC, which alleged that the companies engaged in deceptive and threatening practices to collect payday loan debts.
The FTC said the defendants operated under a number of fake business names that implied affiliation with a law firm or law enforcement agency, including Global Legal Services, Allied Litigation Group, United Judgment & Appeal, Dockets Liens & Seizures and United Judgment Center.
The defendants allegedly used robocalling and left voicemails that threatened legal action and arrest unless the consumers responded with payment on payday loans that they either did not owe or did not owe to the defendants.
Consumers have placed almost 3,000 complaints related to the operations.
Many consumers paid the defendants for the debts because they feared the repercussions of not responding, thought the defendants were legitimate or wanted the harassment to end.
Defendants named in the complaint include Lisa J. Jeter, Nichole C. Anderson, Hope V. Wilson, Angela J. Triplett, DeMarra J. Massey and their firms: Pinnacle Payment Services, Velocity Payment Solutions, Heritage Capital Services, Performance Payment Processing, Credit Source Plus, Reliable Resolution and Premium Plus Processing.
The complaint—the FTC’s fifth case involving alleged fraudulent payday loan operations—charges the defendants with violating the FCT Act and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.