The company that used a fake courtroom to threaten a widow with jail and to steal her son’s car found itself in a real courtroom last week with little to say. Appearing in Erie County Court, an attorney for the collections company Unicredit America offered no defense for the strong-arm tactics it allegedly deployed.
As we reported in March, Unicredit had begun its collection efforts on Erie resident Marilyn Johnson after she was unable to pay the entire cost of her husband’s funeral, leaving her with a bill of $2,142.
[Related Article: “Fake Court” Collections Victim Wants Money Back]
Unicredit invited her to an office building converted into a fake courtroom, complete with law books on shelves and a company employee dressed in a judge’s robe and sitting on a raised bench.
“(I)t looked nicer than some of our real district courtrooms,” Andrea Amicangelo, Johnson’s lawyer, told Credit.com.
Unicredit threatened to throw Johnson in jail during the fake hearing. To keep his mom from going to jail, Johnson’s son, Howard D. Johnson, agreed to pay the company more than $2,000 and sign over the title to his 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier.
Last week in a real courtroom, Unicredit’s attorney, Lawrence D’Ambrosio, declined to explain or defend Unicredit’s actions to Erie County Judge Michael E. Dunlavey, according to the Erie Times-News. Instead, the company dropped its claim against Johnson.
Unicredit still faces a lawsuit by Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett over its alleged courtroom ruse.
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Image: Jonathon Narvey, via Flickr.com