A woman from Chisago City, Minnesota, was recently told to stop performing debt collection
work in the state because she was operating without a license, reports the Star Tribune. A cease and desist order was signed by the state's Department of Commerce last month.
Elizabeth Watterson taped a collection letter to an apartment door in Forest Lake in September 2009 after the landlord changed the locks following a dispute with a tenant, according to the news source. Acting as Rent Recovery Service, she threatened to harm the tenant's credit and "put the person's name on a bad tenant website" if the renter failed to pay the landlord $1,681. An even larger scheme was uncvoered in Buffalo, New York, as a man recently pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion as part of his illegal debt collection scam. The New York Times reports that Timothy Arent faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine for coercing more than 1,000 victims into paying fake debts. Arent and his partner, Neil Wieczkowski, bought debtor information from two former employees and then received approximately $6.7 million in checks from their victims over a three-year period.