In August, the United States District Court for the Western District of New York entered the Federal Trade Commission’s stipulated order banning a group of debt collectors from engaging in collection activities and imposing $27 million in fines.

In May 2015, the FTC filed a Complaint against defendants Unified Global Group LLC; ARM WNY, LLC; Audubon Financial Bureau LLC; and Domenico D’Angelo, alleging that the defendants violated the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  According to the Complaint, the defendants threatened to arrest consumers if they did not pay their debts.  Defendants, allegedly intending to shame consumers into paying, also contacted consumers’ friends, family members, and employers.  Finally, the defendants allegedly failed to identify themselves as debt collectors when initiating communications with consumers in violation of the FDCPA.

The stipulated order banned the defendants from engaging in debt collection activities—including trading consumer information related to any collection activity.  The defendants were also fined $27 million, which is partially suspended upon surrender of all frozen funds.  Defendant Domenico D’Angelo was also required to pay an additional $11,000.

The Case is FTC v. Unified Global Group, LLC, Case No. 1:15-cv-00422.