If you believe that most professional debt collectors are honest, hardworking, salt of the earth type people, this story may change your mind.
Lamont Cooper, age 38 and from New York, owned a business called Legal Action Recovery, which was a professional debt collection firm. In April 2009, a court found that his company used intimidation tactics to scare its victims into paying debts, some of which they didn’t even owe, were discharged in bankruptcy or had already passed the statute of limitations. The collectors threatened to send the alleged debtors to prison for failure to pay, sometimes going so far as to pose as law enforcement officers.
Many individuals sent the firm money – between May and August 2009, deposits of $1.38 million were made into accounts which were connected to the debt collection company. These deposits are believed to be from payments from victims of the company.
In 1997 Cooper, the owner of the company, pleaded guilty to drug charges. He was later paroled. In October 2009, he violated the terms of his parole and was sentenced to 14 months, to be served at the Batavia Detention Facility in New York.
While he was in prison, he allegedly continued to operate his debt collection firm. Surveillance showed that during his time in prison, Cooper was still corresponding with his employees, telling them how to manage accounts and personnel issues, and he also requested that he be kept apprised of all banking activities. The New York Attorney General’s Office has filed charges against Cooper for continuing to operate the firm. He will be arraigned on the charges once he’s released from federal custody.