Home > Managing Debt > “Fake” Debt Collection Court Lawyer Silent In Real Trial

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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

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  • Jared Kenoyer

    I personally hope the Pennsylvania attorney general shuts them down in that state, as well as has a cigar and brandy meeting with a U.S. District Attorney or the like to proceed with any federal actions that may be available.

    It is collection activity such as these by collection agencies that give the rest of the collection industry even more of a poor image. The fact that we are injecting funds back into our economy is irrelevant to the public when companies are conducting collection activities such as these.

    Where have professional ethics and just doing what is “right” gone?

  • Mary Evans

    I am having a problem with a (not so professional) Recovery company. I have checked the website for them and many people have sent reviews complaining about them. They are pestering me for a outstanding bank payment from years ago. I closed my account with this particular bank many years ago and was not aware I owed them money as I have not had letters from the bank regarding this. They are now using threatening tactics, and not only that they are sending the mail to my old address and pestering the owners where I used to lodge.

    Can you please advise me on this one. Do I contact the Bank or ask the Recovery company to send me a letter or statement from the Bank. They could be anybody. The Company are called MKKRR in the UK.

    • http://www.Credit.com Gerri Detweiler

      Mary, do you live in the U.K.? If so, I am afraid I am not familiar with collection laws or procedures there. If you live in the U.S. then you are definitely entitled to request verification of the debt in writing. In addition, here in the U.S. there are statutes of limitations that vary by state. If a (U.S.) debt is too old, you can tell the collection agency not to contact you again.

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