The final defendant in a debt collection scheme that illegally threatened to arrest or sue consumers and harassed their friends, family members and employers is banned from debt collection activities under a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.
The settlement resolves an FTC complaint filed in May 2015, alleging that Anthony Coppola and his co-defendants engaged in banned debt collection tactics – they made false threats, contacted third-parties to pressure debtors, charged made-up fees, sent deceptive text messages claiming that non-existent payments were declined, and failed to identify themselves as debt collectors. The other defendants – Audubon Financial Bureau LLC, Unified Global Group LLC, ARM WNY LLC and Domenico D’Angelo – were banned from the debt collection business under a settlement reached in September 2016.
Under the settlement order announced today, Coppola is banned from debt collection activities or otherwise trading in consumer information regarding debt. The order also prohibits him from profiting from consumers’ personal information and failing to dispose of it properly, and imposes a $9.39 million judgment that will be suspended due to his inability to pay. The full judgment will become due immediately if Coppola is found to have misrepresented his financial condition.
The Commission vote approving the proposed stipulated order was 2-0. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York entered the order on August 24, 2017.