New York Attorney General to Settle with Debt Collection Company

The Attorney General for the State of New York, Eric Schneiderman has announced that his office plans to settle a case against Encore Financial (“Encore”, a debt collection company which buys the debt of other companies in an effort to turn around and collect those debts). The New York Attorney General investigated the company because it had received numerous complaints that the company filed thousands of flawed debt collection lawsuits against state residents.


Just as documents were hastily prepared and robo-signed in many cases which involved foreclosures of mortgages, the Attorney General’s office has claimed that this company had a practice of preparing and signing literally thousands of affidavits per day claiming a particular debtor owed certain amounts without engaging in the kind of due diligence which should be expected in these matters. Accordingly, lawsuits would be filed against consumers where the underlying facts had not been adequately fleshed out.


The anticipated settlement will require Encore to pay a $675,000 penalty and vacate more than 4,500 court judgments against borrowers. It is the latter element of this deal which will exact a penalty and disincentive on the company from resorting again to the type of collection practices with which they are charged. The action against Encore, which is based in San Diego, is the latest in a series of enforcement actions Mr. Schneiderman has brought against debt buyers. Last May, Schneiderman also reached agreements with two other large buyers of stale consumer debts, the PRA Group in Norfolk, Va., and the Sherman Financial Group, based in New York. In total those settlements totaled more than $16 million in both payouts and losses by those companies.


The effect of these settlements matters to consumers in states far beyond New York as these companies operate in many states handling debt collection matters for companies from Florida to New Mexico and beyond.



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