A judge in Pennsylvania has granted a request from the state’s attorney general to permanently ban from the debt collection business an agency owner that allegedly used a fake courtroom to coerce debtors into paying.
Erie County Judge Michael E. Dunlavey Tuesday granted the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office request to enter a judgment against Michael Covatto, former head of Unicredit America in Erie, Pa. The judgment prevents Covatto from operating as a debt collector going forward and also prevents him from being involved in any business venture with his father and half-brother, according to the Erie Times-News.
A later hearing will determine how much money Covatto will owe to the state and consumers impacted by the company’s debt collection practices.
The story of Unicredit has been around for nearly two years, when it was revealed that the collection agency had been using a fake courtroom to intimidate debtors into paying their bills. (Read a broad overview/recap of the story: “The Fake Life and Real Death of a Scam Collection Agency,” May 9, 2011).
A spokesman for the state AG noted that the case is now in its final phases.
- The Debt Collection Compliance Handbook
- “Guaranteeing” Compliance
- The Future of Compliance for the Debt Collection Industry
- Collection Law Firm Financial Benchmark Report 2011
- Collection Agency Financial Benchmark Report 2011