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Man receives prison threat over bounced short term loan check

Oct 17, 2011 Todd Milner

It is illegal for a debt collector to use threatening tactics such as falsely implying that a debtor has committed a crime or that he or she may face jail time. However, according to KION-TV, that's exactly what happened to a Santa Cruz, California, man who received a call over a bad check he wrote to cover a short term loan in 2007. The man contacted the Consumer Affairs Division of the Santa Cruz District Attorney's office after a woman named Olivia Gates, claiming to be from State of Florida's Check Investigative Services, threatened him with a prison sentence. Allegedly, she told the man he was being indicted on three counts of fraud and would serve up to one year in prison if he didn't send her $900. After he declined, Gates ended the call by saying "We'll see you in prison." According to The Associated Press, the Federal Trade Commission receives more complaints about the debt collection industry than any other, citing more than 100,000 in 2010 alone. The complaints have ranged from demands for overly large payments to harassment and threats of dire consequences such as jail time. KION reports that the CAD sent out a warning to inform people of the incident.