Friday, November 5, 2010
Attorney General Abbott Charges Debt Collector With Illegally Posing As Dallas County ClerkDALLAS – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott charged an Oklahoma-based payday lending firm with illegally misrepresenting itself as an official Dallas County government agency. Under a court order obtained by the Attorney General’s Office, the defendant is prohibited from continuing to distribute fraudulent mailings.
Dallas County District Judge Martin Lowey’s temporary restraining order applies to Patrick D. “Dylan” White and his businesses – CASHMAX, Fed Cash, TOPCASH and Cash Service Center. White incorporated his firm under the name Federal Cash Advance of Oklahoma, LLC, and maintains offices in Dallas County.
|Attorney General's lawsuit against Federal Cash Advance of Oklahoma, LLC|
|Sample of bogus debt collection notice|
According to State investigators, the defendant sent deceptive collection letters to Texans with outstanding debts. The letters were delivered in envelopes that contained the Dallas County Clerk’s forged signature and improperly bore the official seals of both the State of Texas and Dallas County. Inside the envelopes, the defendant inserted notices of debt collection that instructed recipients to call a telephone number, which belonged to Federal Cash Advance’s CASHMAX offices.
The notice letters illegally threatened criminal prosecution, referenced a phony “case number” and cited fictitious criminal penalties of up to five years in prison and heavy fines.
The Texas Finance Code prohibits debt collectors from threatening debtors with prison sentences. It also bans deceptive collection notices that improperly pressure debtors to pay their debts.
The State is seeking court-ordered penalties of up to $20,000 per violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Finance Code.