Washington AG Files Suit Against Companies For Collecting Without a License

The attorney general of Washington has filed a lawsuit against three collection agencies and the individual who owns them, alleging the entities purchased debts owed by people living in Washington and subsequently sued to collect on those debts without having the proper license to operate in the state.

The lawsuit was filed against Brian Fair and three companies he owns — EGP Investments, JPRD Investments, and The Collection Group. Each of the companies has operated in Washington state for at least the past nine years and none obtained a license until 2013, according to the complaint.

A copy of the complaint can be accessed by clicking here.

A license is required to operate as a collection agency in Washington state.

The defendants are charged with purchasing thousands of accounts of defaulted and delinquent debt and then attempting to collect on those debts by sending collection letters and filing lawsuits against those individuals. All told, the complaint indicates that the three entities purchased more than 2,500 accounts of Washington consumers.

The defendants also obtained judgments and attempted to collect on those judgments by garnishing wages, seizing funds from bank accounts and threatening to foreclose on the mortgages of consumers with unpaid debts, according to the complaint.

The complaint references one letter the defendants sent to a woman living in Lynnwood, Wash., that said the defendant was ready to initiate foreclosure proceedings unless she contacted the defendant to pay off a judgment that one of the defendants had “unlawfully obtained as an unlicensed collection agency.” When the woman responded she did not have the means to repay the debt, the complaint accuses the defendant of advising the woman to obtain a reverse mortgage as a means of repaying the debt.

These debt buyers continue to go after consumers’ homes, wages and bank accounts without legal authorization,” said Bob Ferguson, the Washington AG, in a statement. “Washington law requires debt buyers to be licensed for a reason: to protect consumers.”

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