Media contact: Liz Brocker (701) 328-2213
BISMARCK, ND – Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has issued three Cease & Desist Orders against fraudulent business operators who violated the state’s consumer fraud and debt collection laws. These out-of-state unlicensed debt collectors made harassing calls to North Dakota residents and used false statements, deceptive practices and even threats in their attempts to extort money.
IKS & Associates, LLC, a California company, and its owner Karriem Madison, doing business under the fictitious business name Bradford Stevens & Associates, left messages claiming to be the “County Courier Service” calling about a failed delivery attempt. When the resident returned the call, the operator claimed to be from “Bradford Stevens & Associates,” falsely stated that a lawsuit had been filed against the resident for a past due cell phone account from more than 15 years earlier, and then made the resident a “settlement offer.” Madison and his company responded to the initial contact from the investigator, but thereafter ignored all communications from the Consumer Protection division.
Portfolio Recovery Management, Inc., a New York company, and its owner Jason Jakubec, doing business under the fictitious business name Karl Frankovitch law firm, made calls to a consumer, falsely claimed to be with the Traill County Sheriff’s department wanting to serve a summons and even displayed the actual telephone number for the sheriff’s office on the caller ID, also pretended to be a “prosecuting attorney” from Karl Frankovitch law firm, and even made harassing calls to the consumer’s family members in an effort to force the consumer to make a payment on a debt that was false or invalid. Jakubec and his company did not respond to any communications from the Consumer Protection division.
Global Management Acquisition Firm, Inc., a Georgia company, and its officer Walter Hargrove, made calls alleging the consumer owed a debt, threatened to make calls to the consumer’s employer and to garnish wages, but was not able to provide the consumer with any information about the alleged debt. Hargrove and his company failed to respond to communications from the Consumer Protection division.
According to Stenehjem, debt collectors cannot attempt to collect a debt from a North Dakota resident unless the debt collector has a collection agency license issued by the Department of Financial Institutions.
“Consumers who receive calls from debt collectors attempting to collect on a debt the consumer is not aware of or does not believe to be valid, should dispute the debt in writing and demand the debt collector provide verification of the debt,” said Parrell Grossman, director of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection division.
Consumers can check whether a collection agency is licensed in North Dakota by visiting https://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org/, or calling the Department of Financial Institutions at 701-328-9933.
The Federal Trade Commission website provides information about consumer rights under the federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.
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