DBA International, the association representing the debt-buying industry, voiced support Thursday for this week's federal enforcement action against the owner of Florida-based United Credit Recovery.
The government seeks a monetary judgment of at least $76 million, roughly the amount gained in the fraud. The owner, Leonard G. Potillo III, is charged with seven counts of alleged wire fraud, 10 counts of bribery of a bank official and 16 counts of money laundering. He was arrested Monday.
Former U.S. Bank employee Wilbur Tate III is believed to be the man accused of taking bribes from United Credit. Tate pleaded guilty last fall to accepting kickbacks from another firm, defunct Oxford Collection Agency, and is currently awaiting sentencing in that case.
"DBA supports any legal actions against companies that engage in fraudulent behavior and applauds the government for targeting companies like these that prey on consumers. In addition to consumer harm in the UCR action, many accounts receivable management companies were alleged to have been harmed," according to DBA officials.
DBA's Debt Buyer Certification Program, a priority for the association, is a standard for the industry to help ensure that companies are aware of and are complying with state and federal statutory requirements, responding to consumer complaints and inquiries and following industry best practices.
"Responsible and ethical debt buyers act in accordance with laws, regulations and consumer rights. Portraying the action of a company such as [United Credit Recovery] as reflective of an entire industry creates a woefully inaccurate picture of reality," according to a DBA statement. " The debt-buying industry is a critically important segment of the nation's credit-based economy. This is the reason why DBA thoroughly vets companies applying for DBA membership and requires all members to become certified and follow DBA's Code of Ethics."