Debt collector banned in AZ after lawsuit alleges harassment
PHOENIX – An owner of several debt collection companies in Arizona accused of impersonating government agencies, making threats and collecting money without permission has been permanently banned from working in state industry and must pay $1.6 million in restitution under a consent agreement. judgement.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced that Mark Anthony Smith, a Valley resident who owns and manages debt collection firms CMS Financial Group, John Lee Group & Associates and TD Financial Solutions Group AZ. Smith’s wife, Deborah Ann Butler, is also named as a defendant in the judgment.
The consent judgment is the result of a 2020 lawsuit accusing Smith’s companies of deceiving and threatening consumers nationwide to convince them to pay debts they had no authority to collect. .
The lawsuit said Smith employees posed as law enforcement officers, government officials, process servers and law firm personnel when making calls to consumers, telling them that they must respond or face legal action. Brnovich’s office provided recordings of voicemail messages left with consumers.
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