The Federal Trade Commission comes in and shuts down a debt collection company in Rockford.
Just after 4 p.m. Monday, over 100 employees at Capital Acquisitions and Management Corporation or CAMCO were told to get their personal belongings and leave. The FTC filed a complaint against CAMCO in U.S. District court on December 2, 2004. The next day, a judge appointed Receiver Corporation to lead the investigation. Now this business has been shut down indefinitely.
Back in March, CAMCO was ordered to pay a $300,000 penalty for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. At that time, the FTC charged that CAMCO engaged in abusive and deceptive ways to collect money. Among the list of complaints then were harassing consumers at the workplace, misrepresenting themselves as attorneys and threatening to take action that could not legally be taken. Now, eight months later, investigators say the complaints have not stopped.
President of Receiver Corporation, Jay Steinberg says, "There are no allegations of fraud. It's the method used to collect money. These are receivables over 10 years old so you can't go to court and sue. The allegations are by people that have been threatened by lawsuits."
The FTC seized all computers, froze the company’s assets and has changed the locks in order to prevent any records from being taken out of the building. Workers were hesitant to go on camera but via phone conversations tell 23 News that they new something was going on when they didn't get their paychecks today. Workers who had direct deposit noticed that money was not added by CAMCO to their account.
Steinberg says, "If they had ceased and assisted when they were supposed to, we wouldn't be here now. It's a pretty severe remedy, but it's a pretty severe violation to keep allegedly doing what you do and still do it to the consumers."
CAMCO is a subsidiary of RM Financial Services which is in Georgia. In March CAMCO, RM, two vice presidents and two debt collection managers were all defendants in the March court documents. That is who will again have to prove that they did not violate the law. If that happens CAMCO would be reopened. If not, the company would be liquidated and consumers who filed complaints would be paid.