On January 9, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced a settlement with a debt collector that will wipe out $8.8 million in consumer debt.

“It is plain and simple, any debt collector that employs abusive, deceptive and illegal tactics in Georgia will be held accountable,” Carr said in announcing the settlement.

Carr alleged that the debt collector – Williamson and McKevie, LLC – violated the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act by:

  • threatening consumers with arrest or imprisonment if they did not pay a debt;
  • falsely representing that consumers had committed criminal acts and would be sued if they did not pay a debt;
  • falsely implying that its representatives were attorneys;
  • contacting third parties and divulging information about the debtors’ accounts; and
  • failing to disclose that they were attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained would be used for that purpose.

Under the terms of the settlement, which was entered as an assurance of voluntary compliance, Williams and McKevie must stop collecting on 10,922 accounts that represent approximately $8.8 million in consumer debt and must also pay a $20,000 civil penalty.  In addition, Williams and McKevie agreed to a five-year monitoring period during which it will be subject to an additional $230,000 civil penalty if it violates any provision of the settlement.

Carr’s press release announcing the settlement is available here.