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FTC: Debt Collectors Used Lies, Threats And Insults To Get People To Pay Up

"Look, I am trying to help your company. This matter is serious and will cause problems at the job."

That's what employees at Rincon Debt Management, a debt collection company based in Corona, California, were supposed to say when they were trying to get money out of someone.

Except sometimes, the person they were trying to put pressure on didn't owe any money at all.

Rincon, along with six other California companies, is a defendant in a formal complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission. On Wednesday, a U.S. district court halted activity at all seven companies and had their assets temporarily frozen.

The seven companies all appear to be the same group operating under different names, according to Tom Syta, assistant regional director for the FTC's western region. The complaint identifies two men, Jason Begley and Wayne Lunsford, who appear to have been leading the operation. But no matter what the group was calling itself, the FTC alleges, it was breaking the law.

The complaint accuses Rincon employees of falsely claiming that they were process servers or calling on behalf of attorneys; falsely claiming that litigation was underway against the person they were trying to reach; and falsely claiming that the so-called debtor might be arrested or have their property seized if they didn't pay back their debt -- all methods that are illegal.


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