Jury selection is to begin tomorrow in a case against Williams, Scott & Associates LLC, a collection agency that was shut down in 2014. The case is against the owner of the firm, John Williams, who has been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Williams allegedly defrauded more than 6,000 individuals of $4.1 million by misrepresenting the status of their debts and the consequences of not paying. The case is being tried in the Southern District of New York.
The agency’s office was raided in mid-2014 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the owners were sued by the Federal Trade Commission. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara subsequently brought charges against Williams, who allegedly opened another agency after he was raided by the FBI.
Williams has been held without bail since his arrest and is facing up to 20 years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty. Collectors working for Williams allegedly used legal-sounding language to confuse individuals, such as telling them that their statute of limitations on their civil legal rights had expired, prosecutors claim. Collectors also referred to themselves as detectives or investigators when contacting individuals.