A collection agency, Aberdeen Enterprizes II, which was reportedly started by a disbarred attorney who was just released from prison, is at the center of a controversy that has helped a private association of law enforcement officials in Oklahoma reap nearly $4 million in commissions from collected debts.
A published report is bringing to light the controversy surrounding the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association, which is being sued for allegedly profiting off “impoverished” individuals. A state law has designated the association as the middle man between collection agencies recovering unpaid court costs and fines and the state legal system. The association is paid a commission from the collection fee, usually 30% or higher, that is collected by the agency when it recovers payments.
But the agency is being accused of “a pattern of illegal and unconscionable behavior” in trying to collect debts, according to the suit filed against the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association. Representatives from the agency threaten arrest and follow through on it if payments are not made.
Judges in the state have considered the program to be a success because the collection efforts have added millions of dollars to the state’s coffers.
Critics of the program are questioning why a private association has received millions of dollars in payments, especially when the state is in the middle of a financial crisis.
“It’s as wrong as wrong can be,” said state Rep. Bobby Cleveland, [R-Slaughterville], in a published report. “There’s no reason for them to do this. … That’s garbage, man. You can’t do that.”