Debt Collection Deception - WBAY

Target 2 Consumer Alert

Debt Collection Deception

Updated:
Timothy Arent (left) Timothy Arent (left)

Millions of Americans are deep in debt and some people have been contacted by collection agencies. Not a pleasant experience.

But those phone calls could actually be a scam.

Victims of a complex scheme are sharing their stories to keep it from happening to others.

U.S. Postal Service inspectors started tracking Timothy Arent and his accomplice for their suspected roles in an elaborate debt collection scheme. Inspectors say they secretly recorded Arent and the accomplice picking up checks at a post office from people who believed they were paying off a debt.


You should know your rights as a consumer.

Debt collectors are prohibited from saying you will be arrested if you don't pay your debt

Collectors cannot lie or falsely claim they are law enforcement or an attorney

Collectors cannot harass or abuse

"One day I was at school and I got a call on my cell phone from a police officer who said he had a bench warrant for my arrest if I didn't call a certain law firm within the hour to pay an unpaid debt," one victim, identified only as Chris, said.

Chris and Erin called a law firm which told them they needed to pay off a $4,500 debt immediately or Chris would be arrested.

"I didn't want an officer showing up at my work or my home, and I wanted to take care of it as quickly as possible. It wasn't fully sinking that this was a trick or a trap," Chris said. "I gave them my bank information, which I should never have done."

"It was that fear and intimidation to come and take him away from his school, family, and children that caused him to act in a manner he never would have before" Erin said.

Arent illegally obtained lists of people who had recently paid off debt. He then called and bullied them into believing they owed even more.

"They had paid their bills and they were targeted because they had demonstrated the ability to pay," US Postal Inspector Shelley Carosella said.

Postal inspectors arrested Arent and found how he was spending victims' money.


We want to know about any problems that might put you, your family, or neighbors at risk. Contact us at:

TARGET2@wbay.com

Your story might be our next story.


"Found many luxury items inside. He lived in a mansion and it was reminiscent of a museum, he had paintings, Tiffany lamp, he had grand piano, grandfather clocks. The furnishings were high-END," Carosella said.

"It was very traumatic, very difficult experience for both of us financially -- and emotional level as well," Chris said. "We were definitely seeking retribution and seeking vindication, making sure these people paid for their crimes because they are hurting people, and we're one of them."

Arent received a 12-year sentence and was ordered to pay $3.6 million in restitution.

If you believe you've been a victim of fraud that used the US Mail service, you can file a complaint with the US Postal Inspection Service at postalinspectors.uspis.gov

  • Action 2 NewsMore>>

  • Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken ferry

    Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken ferry

    Sunday, April 20 2014 12:52 AM EDT2014-04-20 04:52:11 GMT
    The captain of the ferry that sank off South Korea, leaving more than 300 missing or dead, was arrested early Saturday on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need. Two crew members also were taken into...More >>
    After more than three days of frustration and failure, divers on Sunday finally found a way into a submerged ferry off South Korea's southern shore, discovering more than a dozen bodies inside the ship and pushing the...More >>
  • Winnebago authorities rescue 22 animals from home

    Winnebago authorities rescue 22 animals from home

    A Winnebago County woman has been arrested after authorities found nearly two dozen animals living in deplorable conditions in the Town of Clayton.More >>
    A Winnebago County woman has been arrested after authorities found nearly two dozen animals living in deplorable conditions in the Town of Clayton.More >>
  • 162 Year Old Business Closes in Two Rivers

    162 Year Old Business Closes in Two Rivers

    One of Wisconsin's oldest businesses, and an iconic staple to downtown Two Rivers, closed shop for the final time Saturday. Suettinger's Hardware has been operating in the city for 162 years, believed to be the first retail store in the city."I grew up down here myself," Chris Suettinger said, part of the fifth generation of Suettinger's running the shop. "I'd like to thank all the customers over the years for supporting us. A lot of them expressed they're gonna miss us."Business the past few...More >>
    One of Wisconsin's oldest businesses, and an iconic staple to downtown Two Rivers, closed shop for the final time Saturday. Suettinger's Hardware has been operating in the city for 162 years, believed to be the first retail store in the city."I grew up down here myself," Chris Suettinger said, part of the fifth generation of Suettinger's running the shop. "I'd like to thank all the customers over the years for supporting us. A lot of them expressed they're gonna miss us."Business the past few...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
  • 115 S. Jefferson St. Green Bay, WI 54301
  • Email: wbay@wbay.com
  • Phone: (920) 432-3331
Powered by WorldNow

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WBAY. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.