Thousands of Americans jailed for debts chased by private collectors

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An estimated 77 million Americans have a debt that has been transferred to a private collection agency. Thousands have ended up in jail over debts as small as $28, with African-Americans and Hispanics the most affected.

The findings come from a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) spanning 26 states and Puerto Rico, published on Wednesday. The practice violates many US state and federal laws, which prohibit the jailing of debtors.

In one case cited in the report, a disabled woman who wears a prosthetic leg was shackled by her waist and feet by two armed US marshals before being put in jail overnight.

They had a warrant for my arrest and I asked them for what, he didn’t say what it was for. He said, ‘He’ll tell you later,’” said Tracie Mozie of Dickinson, Texas.

Law enforcement officials had entered Mozie’s bedroom to arrest her over a $1,500 federal student loan she took out in 1986 to pay for truck-driving school. The loan had mushroomed to $13,000 with interest and fees. Monzie was unable to pay because she is unemployed and lives on disability benefits.

The ACLU examined more than 1,000 cases in which civil court judges issued arrest warrants for debtors. In some instances the amounts were as small as $28. Letters were sent over bounced checks as low as $2, the ACLU found.

The report is the first ever to analyze the cooperation between courts and the private debt collection industry across the US, according to the ACLU. Private debt collectors use the criminal justice system to try to compel repayments, even when the debts are disputed or when the debtor cannot repay.  More than 6,000 debt collection firms operate in the United States, collecting billions of dollars each year.

Following their arrest, debtors may remain in jail for several days until they can pay the bail. In some cases, the ACLU found some people were locked up for as long as two weeks.

This practice violates the many state and federal laws as well as international human rights standards that prohibit the jailing of debtors.

The report finds that the long-term consequences of arrests for both courts and people can be profound and scarring. Arrest warrants can be entered into background check databases which mean they can jeopardize future employment, housing applications, education, and access to security clearances.

In one case in Maryland, an elderly couple were jailed because they did not appear at a district court hearing for which they had never been served notice. Isaac, 83, and his wife Doris owed $2,342.76 to their homeowners’ association and $450 in attorney’s fees. They had never been served with notice of the hearing, which had itself been scheduled because they failed to appear at a post-judgment proceeding for which they also had never been served. While in detention, Isaac began vomiting blood and became non-responsive, according to the report.

While debtors’ prisons were outlawed by Congress almost two hundred years ago, in reality the practice seems to live on.

23 COMMENTS

  1. We the people need a RICO lawsuit against the FED. Seize ALL their ill gotten gains and lock the rat bastards up. Since the FED operates under an amendment that does not have the requisite number of states supporting it, what they have been doing since 1913 is unlawful and it certainly is a blatantly criminal organization.

    • You said it earlier JZ… it has already fallen in 1913. Obummer renewed the Bank’s charter while in office, even after 2008. That is why Obummer was elected.
      If anyone wants to watch a screw the bank movie, check “Come hell or high water.”

    • Every progrom against the Talmudists have one thing in common, the people always set fire to their houses. It is not what you think. It is to destroy the debt records. Give the movie “Fight Club” new meaning. However, I just violated the first rule of Fight Club to say it wasn’t about the fighting.

  2. I don’t get it. I did a strategic default back in 2009, maxed out my credit cards, took out new credit cards and went right to the bank and maxed those out on cash advances, and never paid a dime on ’em.

    I read a card from a script to the banks when they called.

    “When you loan money to a private party for interest, you are making an investment. All investments carry inherent risks due to unforseen circumstances. Unfortunately, this investment did not work out. You got too greedy and lost it all.”

    Moved to the city, disappeared in the crowd, didn’t put my name on a lease or a bill, changed my phone number, DONE. I left with like 27 stacks, all cash advances.

    Try and make a punk outta me? Think I’m gonna wind up on the street after all the shit I’ve been through?…

    ha HAH ha ha ha ha HAAAHH!!
    [Imagine cackling Dave Chapelle laughter]

    Nah, bitches…I’m straight…

    Back down to Earth, now… Anyone with a student loan should simply put it all on a credit card, heck, go buy a car too while you’re at it, then stop paying and go file bankruptcy.
    Credit cards are UNsecured loans.

    Behave like a corporation, RUTHLESS and WITHOUT pride or shame.

    Max out your debt to BANKS and CORPORATIONS (not people or small business, you monsters!) and file for bankruptcy. Pay your debts to your fellow humans.

    Screw bankers and corporations. Bleed ’em to DEATH.

    Do it every 7 years, like the big boys.

    “The way to beat the system is to break the bank.”

    • If that is all true you have my respect Johnny, if everyone whining about the New World Order and the Jews now had played the game the way we did starting in the nineties when they mailed credit cards out to everyone who had a paper trail of an income we wouldn’t be where we are now. Police State America would have ended right there and then. I got about a half dozen of the things with 2 thousand dollar limits. I laughed to myself thinking everyone wants to be a a loan shark, lets see how good they are at collecting. I maxed out everyone of them and have never paid back one thin dime, nor do I ever intend too. At the time I didn’t need the money either, i just figured it was my duty as an American, little did I know just how soft Americans had become, even by the early nineties…

    • Jack Heart,

      I salute you, Sir.

      It’s all true. When I came up with that cash to catch up with my mortgage, the bank told me “No thanks, were taking the house”.

      I was doing THEM a favor. The house was worth less than the mortgage. Dumbasses.

      I was so enraged that I sledgehammered every window, toilet, sink, fixture, drywall panel, countertop, door,…the whole house.

      End result: The greedy banker auctioned off the property for land value, and ended up with a $300,000 loss. ($500,000 mortgage, $200,000 auction sale). I dumped an anchor around my neck.

      Keep in mind, that by destroying the house, I took money AWAY from the bank, and gave it to the local clean up crew, demolition crew, rehabbers, inspectors, etc. etc… who made money rehabbing the house.

      I’m practically a SAINT…HERO at least…we throw that around nowadays a lot…

      As a symbol, I still have the keys to that home.

      Did I mention that I parted out my SUV and sold it piece by piece? The bank still has the title…

      Ha HAH ha ha ha ha HAH!
      [Again, with the cackling Dave Chappelle laugh].

      “The way to beat the system is to break the bank.”

      I hope I have inspired people. Get creative. Beat them at their own game.

      If it weren’t for the mortgage crisis and OWS, would Zionism even be under the microscope? (((Someone))) got too greedy. Now they may lose it all.

      “Pigs get fat, Hogs get slaughtered.”

  3. The betrayel begins when you set your signature under a one-sided “contract” by the banks which generates your own money they lend you for interest. You will not find the signature of one banker to hold liable for this scam in this so called contract. And so they steal the fruits of your work.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sN1iKfSfihw

    • Everything you pay, in full or not or even in cash is not free and clear. You paid for it with previously liable debt (a promise to return back to the original owner), the Federal Reserve Note. In contracts, the Lender’s name is above the borrower’s, check a Dollar bill.
      To illustrate, if I owed you some compensation and gave you a mower and you accepted it as payment, only to find out, I had borrowed it from someone else named Fed. Fed decides he wants his loan back and goes to the Judge of Maritime Law Court. Judge will order you to give the mower back to the original owner. Your wages were paid in Dollars or promisses to “return” what it borrowed. Everything we use the US dollar for is not paid in full. The US Dollar is not a SOVEREIGN currency. However, Gold is. Once it is out of the ground it is sovereign for ever. No one has attached to it a promise to pay that might be impossible to pay back someday. And, with compound interest it becomes exponentially impossible.
      Everyone and every Country that has paid for anything or has a reserve in US Dollars has to return it to the Bank. Gives a new meaning to the Bank calling the note. Greece has one choice, bleed out on your side like a sheep or bleed out standing up. I know what the Spartans would have chosen.

    • Good points, Trakkath and Khalid.

      We are only RENTING FedResNotes…for interest.

      All those notes, are therefore subject to being called in by the Fed. Perhaps by a specified date, Perhaps by Decree… I don’t know, but would like to…

      That’s why America should be at the ready with a World Wide Currency Swap. If the Fed ever calls in the FedResNotes, we can offer an open market exchange for an even swap and return all the notes for the cost of Paper and Ink.

      Electronic credits will be gobbled up by a PacMan avatar and pooped out at the FedRes electronic credit server.

      If the last sentence sounds ridiculous, its because THAT’S what I think of electronic credits…

  4. Sooo I guess that national debt that says each Americano owes 170,000 bucks to the Fed – is going to end – badly. At every turn we find more and more Corporate control over the people and over the Laws of the Land. And it’s looking like populace is just standing in line, following directions and headed to that Big House cattle train – that is taking them to the Novo Concentration camps. Russians are lucky – 95% of them have NO loans or credit cards. They pay with Cash/Rubles or they don’t own it. It’s a much smarter,safer capitalistic – way.

  5. Well, Decagon is an interesting thing. Yale has been hiding things and I have been speaking of the decans for some years now. Financial timing and geopolitical strategic knowledge of the correlation between time and place is quintessential to secure management. Personal debt is without collateral. That is on the lender. If they can employ an enforcement outside the morality of the general public, then they will do it.
    The world of Ivy League and the world of Ivy League oligarchy are two separate things. One has access to law enforcement and the other does not. Elect your judges wisely, and that certainly does not mean law degrees are required. In fact, it is probably best if your judges do not have law degrees. Or high school diplomas, but if you feel secure by that boot on your neck, knock yourself out.

  6. Th outlawing of this practice is also recognized by the Geneva Convention. Collectors have been buying and selling debt cases greater than 20 years it’s big business. And when you move around they place a skip tracer on the case.Most times after a year or three they will settle a reduced price through deep discount. The judges however that run these court systems placing persons in jail with with no mercy should face a tribunal cause these actions are barbaric by nature should stop post haste.

  7. My student loan payment is put off by the lendor Saliie Mae, for economic reasons. These people probably did not consolidate their student loan at a reputable lendor. In the case of the disabled lady in the article, her social worker or relative could have easily had the paperwork signed by a doctor testifying to her disability and inability to work. That would be enough to discharge the loan. There is also an unemployment deferral. Unsurprisingly, her support system – which the State and County workers are supposed to provide – failed her miserably.

    Other forms of debt are easier to deal with. The first step is to write a letter referring the collection agency back to the original lendor. Who may settle for a fraction of the original debt. The difference being what they would pay to the collection agency; upto 50%. If the debt has been sold, as with store credit cards, most of the debts are assigned on a blanket basis. They rarely have a real document showing that the specific debt has been assigned to them singly. Debtors should demand that proof of assignation/purchase. They will furnish a blanket assignation. Which is not good enough to demand payment. Next step is to engage a monthly-fee legal service to write a letter demanding money for failure to provide adequate documentation and for harrassment.

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