Collection Operations to Forgive $23M in Debts Under Enforcement Order with N.C. AG

The Attorney General of North Carolina has announced a consent judgment with the president and chief executive officer of two debt collection companies — and the companies, as well — that will see the forgiveness of $23 million in unpaid debts, $225,000 in restitution to consumers, and nearly $30,000 in fines and legal costs after they were sued for allegedly engaging in illegal collection practices.

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

Background: Gordon Scott Engle and his companies — Turtle Creek Assets and Royal Park Holdings — have been in the news a number of times during the past few years. The North Carolina AG sued Engle and his companies back in 2019, accusing them of sending consumers criminal summonses — some signed, but most of them unsigned — to collect on unpaid debts while also attempting to collect debts in the Tar Heel State without the proper license.

  • Turtle Creek also entered into a settlement with the Attorney General of Georgia in which it turned over $20 million worth of accounts so they could not be collected anymore and paid a fine of $41,500.
  • Engle was arrested in 2020 and charged with 81 counts of failing to secure a permit from the state’s Department of Insurance, which regulates debt collection.
  • Engle had also previously filed a lawsuit against a rent-to-own chain for allegedly selling hundreds of millions of dollars in accounts that it knew had issues that made the debts uncollectible.

Settlement: Along with forgiving the debts of 20,000 individuals and refunding 650 consumers and paying the fines, the defendants are also permanently banned from collecting debts in North Carolina. The judgment applies to all North Carolina consumer debt acquired by the defendants from Aaron’s going back to January 2012. The defendants are also required to file tax returns for 2018 and 2019 in North Carolina and pay anything that is owed.

The Last Word: “This debt collector operated illegally in North Carolina and took advantage of hardworking people,” said Attorney General Josh Stein in a statement. “My office will hold accountable companies that break the law, and I’m pleased that this court order will bring real financial relief for more than 20,000 North Carolina consumers.”

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