A debt collector looking to get a leg up in collections donned a sheriff’s uniform while collecting debts says a NBC-2 reporter in Fort Meyers, Florida. A Florida victim claimed in a police report that Angel Rosado arrived at his job wearing a deputy sheriff’s uniform and possessing a “warrant” for the victim’s arrest. When the victim protested and requested to see a badge, police reports allege the debt collector responded “You see my gun, don’t you?”
The victim then called the sheriff’s office only to learn that the debt collector was not a sheriff’s deputy. But, he was already scammed to repay a $180.00 debt… money down the drain.
The debt collector is now out of jail on bond after being charged with impersonating a police officer. The more serious charge of carrying a gun should concern this debt-collector-out-of-control: he’s already a convicted felon. He can’t carry a gun. It is unknown if the debt collector’s employer conducted a background check or knew of the prior felony. Perhaps that would not have mattered; debt collection operations are known for tolerating criminals.
State and federal law governs the collection of consumer debts in most instances. The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act should govern the officer impersonation and threats of the debt collector. Debatable, however, is whether the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) would apply. Generally, it only applies to collection of consumer debts by third parties.
In this case, Rosado was a contract collector for a pay day loan operation sources say. As a creditor, the pay day loan store is not subject to the FDCPA. There is a provision within the FDCPA, however, that says when a creditor pretends to be a third-party debt collector (in this case a county sheriff’s deputy), the FDCPA may then apply. In any event, when a debt collector goes rogue, it is usually the debt collector’s employer that picks up the tab. Debt collection agencies should be more circumspect in who they hire to work in the emotional and adversarial process of collections especially if they send a collector to a consumer’s place of business.
Of particular interest to Consumer Rights Attorneys is whether Rosado’s employer will determine how many other victims are out there. Moreover, will the employer ratify, i.e., approve, this debt collector’s conduct by not returning money he collected for it in a clearly unlawful manner.