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Debt Collectors Who Bilked Millions Sent to Prison

– Posted in: consumer news

Two debt collectors were sentenced recently to 8 and 6-year prison terms for absconding with $2.7 million.  Darrian Summers and Stefan Miller both of the former debt collection agency, Maxwell, Turner & Associates, received their prison terms after being convicted of fraud conspiracy or money laundering.  The federal court ordered Miller and Summers to pay about $1.3 million in restitution to victims.

Although Summers and Miller both plead guilty to their crimes, a third man, Paul Vasquez insisted on a trial.  Vasquez is believed to be the actual owner of the debt collection agency according to federal sources.  He is accused of using the debt collection agency to trick victims into paying debt collection fees for non-existent services.

U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner won an 23-count indictment against Vasquez charging the debt collector with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering.  If convicted Vasquez, presumed-innocent, faces up to 40 years in prison and up to a $750,000.00 fine as well as restitution.

According to Wagner, the case against the three debt collectors derived from extensive investigations by the Internal Revenue Service, local police, and the local district attorney’s office as well as the federal government.

Consumers must be careful about who they send payments especially when dealing with debt collectors.  At this time, it is unknown whether consumers will be voluntarily credited for any payments they made to Maxwell, Turner & Associates believing it to be a legitimate debt collection agency.  However, should creditors or subsequent debt collectors not voluntarily credit the stolen payments, powerful consumer protection laws should provide a measure of protection.  The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) will not permit debt collectors to misrepresent the amount of consumer debt that is allegedly owed.  Additionally, the FDCPA is unlikely to tolerate the shifting of the losses to debtors who already made payments in good faith.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey consumers who believe their fair debt collection rights have been violated are invited to click here for a no-obligation assessment of their consumer law matter.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • MaybeNot

    I can’t believe any debt collection worthy of the name of being a lawful business would think of hiring people and allowing them to misrepresent a debt to the person owing that debt. Such egregious practices are despicable and the perpetrators should spend years in prison.

  • CreatureComfort

    When a debt collector calls a person and tries to trick that consumer into paying a debt he does not owe, he in effect is breaking, entering and burglarizing the home of that person. He deserves as long a jail sentence as the courts allow.

  • Jamie

    For the amount of money they basically stole or defrauded, I’m surprised that such short prison terms were given.  I am gratified that the potential prison term for the owner is much higher and I hope he gets a lot more time than the other two.

  • Anonymous

    That is why you should always ask for things in writing prior to paying anything when a debt collector calls. What a shame that collectors bilked all that money! It’s quite shameful! I’m glad that they all got prison terms too.

  • Anonymous

    I am glad that these people are going to jail. I can’t really believe the other guy asked for a trial. Sounds like they have a pretty good case against him. Unless his defense is that he was unaware of what the other two were doing.

  • Anonymous

    Guys like this intimidate people so much they are willing to believe they owe more then they do. When you owe money, you feel like a bad person, and they trade on that.

    It is heartening to hear about debt collectors being sent to prison for these shady techniques.

  • Sean

    Many collectors do not disclose full information when you contact them. I refuse to deal with anyone that can not send me accurate information via postal mail so I can investigate on my own. I have no pity for these guys either.

  • Mimsey

    People must be gullible or afraid to send money to people who call on the phone demanding payment for unpaid bills. I make a point to pay my bills when they are due and haven’t gotten many of these phone calls, but I’m more aware from reading this how many dangers are out there for people these days.

  • Jake

    I’m curious where the money laundering charges came from?  Isn’t that when you take illegally gained funds, such as drug sales, and then funnel it through a legit business transaction?