The FBI has a few thoughts to share about the Norcross company Williams, Scott & Associates, A.K.A. Warrant Services Company. The debt collection company’s employees sometimes called themselves detectives, told consumers that they were part of a federal task force, and threatened that they could have people’s driver licenses suspended or warrants issued for their arrest unless they made immediate payments, federal authorities allege. What’s wrong with that? The FBI says there was no warrant squad. They weren’t detectives. They didn’t work for any branch of the government. And they couldn’t suspend anyone’s license. “Bullies with bogus badges” is what the FBI called them in a news release Tuesday.
Federal prosecutors in New York also had some words for the business, which it says in is the “seedy side of debt collection.” Its news release gloats, “After years of threatening false arrest, these defendants are the ones who now find themselves in handcuffs, facing the loss of their own liberty.” The company, the prosecutors say, victimized more than 6,000 people across the nation.
Arrested this morning in Georgia and charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud were company owner John Todd Williams, 48, and six employees: Benita Cannedy, 36, of Duluth; Rudy James, 32, of Lithonia; Arthur Cook, 31, of Duluth; Christopher Lenyszyn, 46, of Acworth; Clark Smith, 39, of Norcross; and Titus McDowell, 38, of Avondale Estates. If convicted, each faces a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Here’s a script that authorities say was recovered from the WSA office:
“This is investigator _____ I calling [sic] in reference to a complaint that has been filed through the national check fraud center were [sic] that stated that they have sent correspondents [sic] to ________ as well _______ and you have not responsed [sic] which has made your statue [sic] of limitations for your civil legal rights exhaust. That means that you are being pursued for one count of theft by deception and can be forwarded over to the local county for proceedings to start.”
By the way, another U.S. government agency, the Federal Trade Commission, first pounced on the company, accusing it in July of collecting “phantom payday loans.”
Read more here.