AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Atlanta debt collector ordered to pay up

The bill has come due for an Atlanta debt collection company accused of impersonating law enforcement to demand payments on payday loans.

National Client Services - which was doing business under several names, including AFS Legal Services and National Payment Processing - been permanently banned from debt collection. What's more, the company has been ordered to pay a judgment of more than $4.4 million. That's the amount of money consumers lost, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

A company official also has to give up his Mercedes-Benz.

Back in January, federal authorities accused the company of using profane language, calling at all hours and other violations. To avoid detection, the FTC said, the company operated under a number of names.

The order, issued in late August by U.S. District Court in Atlanta, goes on to ban the defendants and their agents, officers and employees from misrepresenting financial-related products or services. Among other restrictions, the order spells out that they may not represent their ability to improve anyone's credit rating.

The exact judgment they were ordered to pay was $4,479,152, and the defendants were ordered to transfer funds from various accounts to help pay it. Omar Smith was also ordered to cooperate in the sale of his 2011 Mercedes-Benz S550.



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About the Author

Lois Norder is Senior Editor for Investigations in the newsroom at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.