A debt collector can NOT have you prosecuted for failing to pay a debt. I’ve had a few calls from clients recently who said they were threatened with criminal charges for failing to pay old debts. If you get one of these phone calls, make sure to get the name and address of the collection agency, and the name of the person with whom you are speaking. Record the call if possible. These strong-arm tactics are prohibited by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). If they refuse to give you this information, hang up on them. Remember, debt collectors only have as much power over you as you allow them to have.
The best result I’ve had in a FDCPA case is one in which my client recorded a telephone call from a law firm claiming that he could be sent to jail for failing to pay a debt. Jury award for in excess of $50,000.00 based solely on emotional distress. If a collector is threatening you with jail for failing to pay a debt, record the conversation. Then give me a call.