ATLANTA, GA – Attorney General Chris Carr today announced an $8.8 million settlement with debt collector Williamson and McKevie, LLC and its owner Greg Williamson, resolving charges that the company committed multiple violations of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act.
“It is plain and simple, any debt collector that employs abusive, deceptive and illegal tactics in Georgia will be held accountable,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “I appreciate our Consumer Protection Unit’s work on this matter. We will continue working to ensure that no Georgia consumer falls victim to this type of behavior in the future.”
The Attorney General has alleged that Williamson and McKevie, LLC repeatedly harassed and deceived consumers by:
- threatening consumers with arrest or imprisonment if they did not pay an alleged debt;
- falsely representing that consumers had committed criminal acts and that a lawsuit was about to be filed unless the debt was paid;
- falsely implying that representatives were attorneys rather than disclosing that they were, in fact, debt collectors;
- contacting third parties and divulging information about the debtors’ accounts;
- failing to disclose that they were attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained would be used for that purpose.
Under the settlement, the company, which also buys debt from third parties and collects on that debt on its own behalf, must cease collections on 10,922 accounts it owns and turn those accounts over to the Attorney General so that they cannot be sold or collected on in the future. This represents a total of $8,790,560.73 in purported consumer debt. In addition, the company must pay a $20,000 civil penalty and fully comply with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act in the future. If, during a five-year monitoring period, the company violates any provisions of the settlement, an additional $230,000 civil penalty will immediately become due.