Bill Bartmann's fast rise and fall in the debt-buying industry is an epic tale that many thought ended nearly a decade ago. But Bartmann is determined to keep the story going.
Our sister publication Collections & Credit Risk reports that on Wednesday, he visited Boston as part of his 50-state "Stop These Criminals" campaign and testified on collection abuses at a hearing before Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.
"Consumers go to jail over less than $100. Collectors threaten violence and demand sex for repayment. Abusive language is the status quo. As an industry insider, I've seen clear patterns of abusive behavior by other bill collectors and I know how to stop them," said Bartmann, president and CEO of CFS II. "I'm not afraid to pick a fight with abuse in this $40 billion industry even if I'm all alone. My goal is to shine light on abuse in this barbaric and out-of-control business. I've been a debt collector for decades, so I'm just the guy to do it."
Twelve years ago Bartmann's revolutionary debt-buying firm, Commercial Financial Services, closed amid a huge fraud scandal. The circumstances surrounding the failure led to a federal grand jury indictment of Bartmann. Along with former CFS executive Jay Jones, he was accused of creating a shell company, Dimat Corp., to inflate the performance of CFS. Bartmann was acquitted and in 2010 jumped back into the debt-buying industry with CFS II. (Jones pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge.)
As part of his "Stop These Criminals" campaign, Bartmann said, he has talked to attorneys general in 12 states so far, several members of Congress, the Federal Trade Commission and officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
"Unfortunately, the collections industry is overrun with bad players who trick, threaten and abuse Americans," he said. "Consumers go to jail over less than $100. Collectors threaten violence and demand sex for repayment. Abusive language is the status quo. As an industry insider, I've seen clear patterns of abusive behavior by other bill collectors and I know how to stop them."
[From Collections & Credit Risk]