Yesterday, the CFPB announced it has sued United Debt Holding (UDH), JTM Capital Management, United Holding Group (UHG), and their owners, Craig Manseth, Jacob Adamo, and Darren Turco, for illegal debt-collection practices. The Bureau alleges that the defendants placed consumer debt with, or sold consumer debt to, collection companies that used unlawful and deceptive collection tactics, and that the defendants knew, or should have known, the collection companies made false threats and false statements to consumers.
The Bureau reports that UHG, headquartered in Williamsville, New York, was founded by Manseth, Adamo, and Turco in May 2017. Before co-founding UHG, Manseth owned UDH, Turco worked at UDH as a manager, and Adamo owned JTM. All three companies are debt collectors that buy debt portfolios from creditors, or other debt sellers, and then place the portfolios with or sell them to other collection companies. From September 2017 through April of 2020, claims the CFPB, the defendants collectively placed debts with a face value of more than $8 billion. The three individuals formed UHG, and UHG then managed ongoing business for UDH and JTM. According to the CFPB's complaint, the Bureau alleges all three companies allowed third-party collection companies to deceive consumers and placed or sold debt portfolios to collection companies engaged in unlawful behavior.
- The defendants received hundreds of complaints that their collection companies were threatening arrest, jail, or lawsuits if consumers did not pay their debts imminently.
- The defendants also received recorded phone calls in which some of their third-party collection companies falsely threatened suits or made false statements about credit reporting.
- From 2015 through January 2017, UDH’s compliance staff reviewed recorded phone calls from JTM’s collection companies and found that many contained major violations of federal law.
- Instead of terminating its relationship with JTM, UDH increased the amount of business it sent to JTM.
- By 2017, UDH was using JTM almost exclusively for debt placements despite objections by UDH’s compliance manager.
The CFPB is seeking monetary relief for consumers, disgorgement of unjust gains, injunctive relief, and a civil money penalty.
The complaint is not a final finding or ruling that the defendants have violated the law.