BUFFALO, N.Y. - Three people along with their companies have been banned permanently from debt collection industry for threatening consumers with felony charges and jail time.
New York's Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood announced Friday a court order against defendants Gregory MacKinnon and Vantage Point Services, LLC; Angela Burdorf and Payment Management Solutions, Inc.; and Joseph Ciffa and Bonified Payment Solutions Inc. for illegal debt collection practices. The court order permanently bans each defendant from debt collection industry and requires collective payment of nearly $27 million in restitution and damages.
The New York Attorney General's Office and the Federal Trade Commission alleged that the defendants misrepresented themselves to consumers as attorneys or officials working for law enforcement agencies and the court system. The defendants threatened consumers by falsely telling them they would face felony charges and be placed in jail if their debts were not paid. Defendants also failed to provide information about the supposed debts within five days of a collection call, as required by law, and illegally added unauthorized amounts to consumers' debts.