Three leaders of a Western New York collections operation under investigation for illegal collection practices, including impersonating law enforcement, have been banned from future involvement in the industry, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office said today.

Tobias Boyland, Kayla Pritchett and Dorian Wills were principals of nine collection agencies in New York where employees allegedly used scare tactics to threaten and intimidate individuals if they did not pay their debts. In many cases, the individuals did not owe any money. Cuomo shut down the operations last year.

Boyland, who previously served 13 years in prison for attempted robbery, was arrested on weapons charges last June. His case is pending. Along with Pritchett and Wills, he ran several agencies that operated out of at least four locations Western New York. The agencies used several names: Central Resource Management, Final Claims Asset Locators, Final Control Asset Locators, Interchange Payment Solutions, Next Step Services, Portfolio Asset Assurance, Silverbay Services and Teleport.

Along with the court order obtained to keep them out of the industry, Cuomo's office announced it has secured $275,000 in restitution for individuals who were victimized by the tactics. Consumers who believe they were defrauded by the companies, and have not yet filed a complaint, have until April 9 to do so and be eligible for restitution. Details on how the restitution was obtained were not immediately available.

Details of the investigation revealed that Boyland's employees violated state and federal laws by routinely posing as law enforcement and then threatening to arrest and throw consumers in jail unless they made arrangements to pay the company immediately. These employees also falsely informed consumers that they were being sued in civil court, according to hundreds of consumer complaints filed with law enforcement agencies across the country.

Cuomo's investigation revealed that the collectors demanded payment for non-existent debts, attempted to collect payments for debts that had already passed the statute of limitations or inflated the amount owed on an actual debt. Also, the operation used technology to disguise its addresses and telephone numbers making it hard for consumers to even know with which law enforcement agency, in which state, to register a complaint.

In September 2009, twelve employees of the collection operation were arrested and charged with grand larceny as part of a criminal probe, Rogue Collectors Charged With Grand Larceny, Sept. 30. 2009.

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