New York Attorney General Ends Illegal Debt Collection Scheme

person counting money

In February of 2020, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a settlement through which Buffalo-based debt collector, Robert Heidenreich, was banned from the collection industry. Also known as “Bobby Rich,” Heidenreich and the collectors working for him were charged with engaging in “deceptive and unlawful debt collection practices” in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and other laws.

The settlement was preceded by a lawsuit filed against Heidenreich and six of his corporations: Campbell Capital LLC; Kahl, Heidenreich, and Nemmer LLC; Urban, Heidenreich, Melendez, and Associates, LLC; J & V Receivables LLC; Rich Financial LLC; and BCH & Associates Ltd.

In the lawsuit complaint, the New York Attorney General’s Office and Federal Trade Commission asserted that Heidenreich and associates violated the law by partaking in “overbiffing”–the practice of demanding more money from consumers than their balance in full. According to the complaint, the defendant debt collectors also impersonated law enforcement agents and threatened consumers with arrests and lawsuits.

As part of the settlement agreement, Heidenreich agreed to a monetary judgment of $1.7 million. The settlement also prohibits him from advertising, processing payments on debts, and engaging in any debt collection activities.

In a press release, Attorney General James stated, “Collecting on money that consumers do not owe, and doing so using false threats of arrest and other unscrupulous means, is inexcusable and unlawful.” She expressed that her office remains committed to protecting New Yorkers from illicit scams.

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