CFS II, a Tulsa, Okla.-based debt collection agency, is scouting offices in North Carolina to potentially open a call center with as many as 2,000 jobs, according to company officials.
Representatives of the company are expected to be in Charlotte on Wednesday, after spending Tuesday in Greensboro and Winston-Salem. CFS II CEO Bill Bartmann is meeting with state and local officials along the way.
Bartmann is also considering locations in Nevada, Ohio, Florida and Virginia, as previously reported by Collections & Credit Risk. Within two years, he hopes to have five call centers in operation.
Bartmann could not be reached for comment by press time.
Bartmann founded CFS II two years ago. Nearly 13 years ago, his debt-buying firm Commercial Financial Services (CFS) closed amid a fraud scandal. In 1997, an anonymous letter had sparked an investigation into the company's success rate numbers, and the company ended up filing for bankruptcy the next year.
A federal grand jury indictment of Bartmann followed. Along with former CFS executive Jay Jones, Bartmann was accused of creating a shell company, Dimat Corp., to inflate the performance of CFS.
Bartmann was acquitted. Jones pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and was sentenced to five years in prison. Federal Bureau of Prisons records show he was released in 2007.
CFS, which employed 3,600 people at the time it failed, routinely bid up the price of bad debt and monopolized forward-flow contracts with major banks in the late 1990s. Bartmann was the first to securitize bad debt on Wall Street, giving him access to large amounts of capital that none of his competitors could match, an approach that helped him quickly build his company into a $3 billion giant.
Bartmann's fortune before his company's downfall was valued as high as $3.5 billion, according to Inc. magazine.
Earlier this year, the Oklahoma state legislature began considering a law known as the "Bartmann Bill for Ethical Debt Collection" that would set rules for how companies can pursue debtors. In April, Collections & Credit Risk reported that the Oklahoma House Judiciary Committee had decided to refer the bill for additional study.