Collection agency Bounceback Inc., based in Kansas City, Mo., is accused in a federal lawsuit of "renting" county prosecutor seals to threaten people with jail time if they did not pay their debts. The lawsuit, filed in the state of Washington, states that Bounceback gave the prosecutors a share of the collection fees.

Privatized check enforcement programs - such as what Bounceback employs - are legal in Washington and allow companies to contract with county prosecutors in exchange for a fee or percentage of collection charges. Oregon recently banned public agencies or officials from allowing collection entities to use official seals or letterheads.

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