It wasn't until she got in touch with Arons that she discovered she wasn't being threatened by Cook County. It was Corrective Solutions, which has contracts with 21 counties in Illinois.

In 2010, yet another class-action suit was filed against the company, this time on behalf of 600,000 victims in California and Pennsylvania. In November, it agreed to pay a $3 million settlement. But because the class was so big, each victim would receive less than $3 dollars. A federal court refused the settlement, ordering both parties back to negotiations.

"The litigation has been hard," says Bob Hobbs, deputy director of the National Consumer Law Center. "Either these companies declare bankruptcy, or they just drag these things on forever and no one gets paid."

Brian Stauffer
Julie Orr's bounced check turned into a nightmare.
Rodrigo Pena
Julie Orr's bounced check turned into a nightmare.

As the case languishes in court, advocates hope Congress will finally close the 2006 loophole.

They received a glimmer of hope in October, when President Obama's new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that it would be overseeing debt collectors starting this year. For the first time in history, the feds will require those making over $10 million a year to supply regular reports to ensure they're not deceiving and threatening consumers.

Still, Moira Vahey, an agency spokeswoman, declined to comment on how it would deal with the bad-check programs.

For now, the only oversight comes from those making money on the deals: the district attorneys themselves. And they show little interest in policing the industry.

Take the Minnesota company once known as Financial Crimes Services. In 2009 it was sued for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The company agreed to pay $75,000 in penalties and court costs.

Last year, it changed its name to Check Diversion Program, and it's still operating throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. "We're not a debt-collection company, but a diversion program," says CEO Scott Adkisson. "We send out approved letters. And it's the DA's decision who gets them, not ours. We just manage the program."

The evidence suggests otherwise. In Minnesota's Goodhue County, the program is run by the Red Wing Police Department, which referred inquiries back to Adkisson. Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson would not respond to interview requests, either.

Levin believes this lack of oversight may be the key to dismantling the programs: If prosecutors aren't reviewing the cases, collection agencies aren't legally eligible for immunity.

In the meantime, victims like Orr, Schwarm and Hirth have little recourse but to hire lawyers, paying thousands to defend themselves for bouncing $50 checks at the grocery store.

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My Voice Nation Help

So will we find that the person who runs this abusing shake down debt collection is friends or a family member of someone in power  in California?  Where are those who are suppose to be working and representing the common citizen?  Why is it that there seems to be two sets of laws in our country of late, one for the so called uber rich and one for the rest of us so called  useless eaters?


Thats some pretty scary stuff man, WIw.


Sounds like a pretty solid plan to me dude. Wow.


This is what Democrip and Rebloodican voters want though.  I cannot understand why you sheep are bah bah bahing about it.


If you think Gregory`s story is terrific,, 5 weaks-ago my cousins best friend basically recieved a check for $8589 putting in a twenty hour week an their house and there classmate's step-aunt`s neighbour done this for four months and got over $8589 part time from their labtop. applie the guidelines from this site,

WhoKnows topcommenter

If Brewski was involved in this, she would demand prison sentences at a CCA private prison, where inmates are forced to make shoes and shirts in a 100 degree sweat shop.


The kangaroo court system is a money making machine!

MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

I remember when Candy Andy and the Miscreants tried to come after me for allegedly passing a bad check on a closed bank account.

It failed. Badly.


The justice system has become more criminal than the criminals themselves over money.


Law enforcement has become a for-profit business.

With more laws added every year it is also a growth industry.  Think about it the next time you support some half-baked new law.

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