Saturday, June 15, 2013

100th Installment. California State Bar Colludes with Gray-Market Criminals: Nefarious Collection Practices using “Wakefield Associates” on Bogus “Debt”

The State Bar’s collection practices

The California State Bar employs gray-market criminals, illegal collection thugs, to try to recover its unconscionable “costs” from respondents. These collection thugs try to harass respondents into paying the invented sums.

Collections are ineffectually federally regulated under the Fair Debt Collection Act, which makes it illegal to call people to annoy them. (§ 806, subd. 5 [“causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with the intent to annoy … any person at the called number”].) The collector the California State Bar uses—Wakefield Associates, based in Colorado—is one of numerous illegal collections operations, which go unprosecuted because they systematically avoid pursuing supposed debtors in their home states. This is the key to recognizing them: legitimate collection is by writ of execution on a judgment, for which being based in a different state is disadvantageous. These thugs’ motto is “a call a day until you pay.” They will deny they are engaging in harassment, by refusing to admit the obvious: that harassment is the only conceivable definition for calling someone who makes it clear they want you to stop. 

To eliminate the interstate collections thugs would require more than the ineffectual Federal Trade Commission, charged with enforcing the Fair Debt Collection Act: the U.S. Justice Department would need to concern itself, but the Justice Department is fully occupied with providing legal cover for torture at Guantanamo and waging its war against adolescents using birth control.

Dealing with collection thugs

The gray-market collections operations obfuscate three basic legal principles, which suffice for anyone having to confront these criminals:
  1. Collectors have rights no greater than their creditor principals.
  2. Creditors have rights no greater than any other citizen.
  3. No citizen can dictate what another says over the telephone, but anyone can (only) deny permission to phone.
From these principles, it follows that it suffices legally to tell a collector you don’t want to deal with it to compel it to stop calling. But then, collections thugs operate outside the law (their basis of existence consists of illegal practices: badgering weak, ignorant people into paying supposed debts). Realistically, much more is required to deter them: anyone who calls one of these criminals back a few times—or more—should be commended for performing a public service. (Legally, you can call these telephone tough guys back as many times as you like and say what you want: they can hardly complain of harassment—although they’ll threaten—since they initiated communication and insist on continuing it.)

Birds of a feather

Where is the California State Bar in prosecuting the attorneys who advise these gray-market criminals on how to avoid prosecution? The answer is that they aren’t to be seen, where the State Bar colludes with these criminal collections’ operations. The specific collection syndicate used by the California State Bar engages in the usual violations of local anti-harassment and federal statutes but goes a step further. The Fair Debt Collection Act requires that the collector disclose its identity to caller ID, but Wakefield Associates refuses. Even when it identifies itself orally, it refrains from revealing it’s a private collection company, deceptively identifying itself as “the judicial recovery unit.” Although I doubt they would fool any state-bar respondent, some other corrupt judicial organs must use Wakefield Associates’ services, and they succeed in deceiving the legally naïve into fearing that criminal justice is their pursuer. The business model of these gray-market criminals is otherwise inexplicable. For the California State Bar, thuggery is business as usual.

No comments: