Battling Debt Buyers

By: Tiffany Sanders

The problems identified by the Federal Trade Commission in its 2013 report are only the beginning.  At Chase, Linda Almonte saw the process go badly wrong as allegedly delinquent accounts were being packaged for sale.  Not only did Linda find errors in about half of the accounts being prepared for sale, but she discovered that in some cases it was actually Chase that owed the “debtor” money.

When Linda reported these problems to her superiors, she was fired.  Her pending whistleblower complaint alleges, among other things, that:

1. Chase Bank sold to third party debt buyers hundreds of millions of dollars worth of credit card accounts that were marked by Chase Bank as Judgment Accounts when in fact Chase Bank executives knew that many of those accounts had incorrect and overstated balances.

2. As part of the sale of Judgment Accounts, Chase Bank executives knowingly mischaracterized delinquent accounts as already reduced to judgment, when in fact proof existed that no judgment existed or at the very least insufficient documentation existed to reach that conclusion.

3. Chase Bank executives routinely destroyed information and communications from consumers rather than incorporate that information into the consumers credit card file, including bankruptcy notices, powers of attorney, notice of cancelation of auto-pay, proof of payments and letters from debt settlement companies, and

4. Chase Bank executives mass-executed thousands of affidavits in support of Chase Banks collection efforts and those Chase Bank executives did not have personal knowledge of the facts set forth in the affidavits.

Although it’s disheartening to see the same type of corrupt practices in the sale of credit card debt that we’ve seen in the mortgage arena, it’s not surprising.  Fortunately, inside information from conscientious professionals like Linda will allow us to fight these claims, hold the industry accountable and in many cases obtain compensation for clients whose accounts have been mismanaged.

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