ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Former employees of debt collector, Vision Financial, say the company has not paid them in over a month and the paychecks that were passed out bounced.
"This is modern day slavery," said James Rhymes. "That's how I look at it."
Rhymes left Vision Financial for the last time on Tuesday after learning he had been laid off. He says his former boss is taking advantage of its employees and he is going to extraordinary lengths just to make ends meet.
"We're coming to the job, punching in and sitting there," Rhymes said. "I've been giving plasma for the last two weeks in order to get gas and come back up here and still not get paid."
Former employees say about 45 people were let go on April 8th, and Rhymes' co-workers say nobody has been paid since April 15th. They say their paychecks from April 29th all bounced causing the currency exchange to come after them for the money.
"Really, it's embarrassing to me and everybody," said former employee Ashley Myers. "It hurts me because I cannot support my kids because of the checks bouncing. I have ADV no way to pay my bills."
A similar situation is playing out at the Maryland Heights office near St. Louis. Employees say owner Stewart Dauman, whose $18 million home in New York is listed for sale, refuses to respond to them. They say Dauman keeps telling them that the checks are on the way, however, they cannot wait any longer.
"Promises don't pay the rent, promises don't pay the electricity," said former employee Carrie Carey. "When you call the utility company, you say they're promising. They're going to promise to turn off my stuff, if I don't pay them. At this point, I can't deal with promises anymore. I have to get some funds from somewhere so unfortunately I'm forced to file unemployment and be laid off."
23 News reached out to Dauman, but have not heard back.
The Better Business Bureau says for formal complaints, employees can contact the Illinois Department of Labor at 312-793-2808 or visit http://www.state.il.us/agency/idol.