Debt Collector on Other Side in NY Settlement

November 22, 2013
Buffalo Business First  
debt settlement news

Under a settlement with the New York attorney general's office, the owner of a string of debt collection firms will pay $165,000 in penalties and restitution for illegally collecting on payday loans, which are illegal in the state.

Joseph Bella -- who has operated at least half a dozen debt collection outfits in the Buffalo area over the past five years -- was said by the AG's office to have repeatedly violated the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

His companies allegedly contacted borrowers' employers for information, sent collections letters claiming to come from a lawyer, illegally solicited off-limits information about consumers, and suggested that they could garnish borrowers' wages even though they did not have the authority to do so. Besides the $165,000 judgement, Bella will have to change his business practices.

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