West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw filed a lawsuit Tuesday against seven unlicensed debt collection agencies he accuses of using unfair tactics to receive money from consumers.
The agencies listed in the action are: County Filing Services Inc.; Portfolio Investment Financial; Investment Management and Recoveries Inc.; Rosenthal, Stein and Associates LLC; Vision Credit Solutions LLC; National Capital Management Inc.; and Dorsey Thornton and Associates LLC.
Several consumers had complained that the agencies' debt collectors were impersonating law enforcement and judicial officers and making threats that nonpayment would lead to criminal prosecution, according to a news release.
The agencies also were attempting to collect debts that did not exist, the release states.
McGraw's civil action asks a judge to forbid the agencies from continuing the allegedly unfair practices and force them to comply with an investigative subpoena.
"In recent years, my office has been flooded with complaints against companies making unlawful threats of arrest of legal action to coerce consumers to pay nonexistent debts," McGraw said in the release. "I have directed my staff to aggressively pursue all such violators and to do whatever it takes to force compliance with laws governing the conduct of collection agencies."
Last month, McGraw's office sued two divisions of debt buyer Encore Capital Group, claiming the firms participated in fraudulent collections and used false affidavits in lawsuits. That suit alleged the companies obtained default judgments against West Virginia consumers through robo-signed affidavits (see story).