New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said he has obtained a court order banning three debt collectors from the industry after they allegedly impersonated law enforcement officials.

Tobias Boyland, Kayla Pritchett and Dorian Wills were principals of nine collection agencies in the Buffalo area where employees allegedly threatened to arrest and throw consumers in jail unless they arranged to pay the company immediately. In many cases, the consumers did not owe any money, Cuomo, who shut down the operations last year, said Monday.

Cuomo's office said it also secured $275,000 in restitution for people who were victimized by the tactics.

The collection agencies' employees also falsely informed consumers that they were being sued in civil court, according to the attorney general's office.

Cuomo's office said its investigation revealed that the collectors attempted to collect payments for debts that were nonexistent or had passed the statute of limitations, or they inflated the amount owed on an actual debt.

The collection agencies used technology to disguise its addresses and telephone numbers, making it hard for consumers to even know which law enforcement agency, in which state, to complain to, the attorney general's office said.

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