Managing Debt

Fake Judge Case Hits Real Courtroom

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A debt collection company accused of running a fake courtroom with fake judges appeared in a real court yesterday, where a real judge ordered them to stop immediately, according to a story by the Erie Times-News.

The company, Unicredit America of Erie, Pa., had been using fake subpoenas and employees dressed like judges and sheriff’s deputies to intimidate people into paying up immediately.

Judge Michael E. Dunlavey of Erie County Common Pleas Court was so surprised by the allegation of people dressed in black impersonating judges that he interrupted an attorney mid-argument.

“An actual person in black?” Dunlavey asked.

News that the company had been sending threatening letters made to look like court subpoenas also drew Dunleavy’s ire. Addressing attorney Lawrence D’Ambrosio, who wrote the letters, Dunleavy said sternly, “I can tell you one thing, counsel. You better not send another letter like that again. I’m ordering you not to do it.”

The judge did not freeze Unicredit’s assets, as the state attorney general’s office had requested. Future hearings will address fines and repayment of the victims, the Times-News reported.

Check out this story for information on how to determine whether a debt collection is legitimate.

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