Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 at
Back in November 2010, we reported on the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s lawsuit against Unicredit America, which made a company office resemble a courtroom and then brought in unsuspecting consumers for bogus hearings. According to a report in the Erie Times-News, a Pennsylvania judged ordered Michael Covatto, the former president of Unicredit (which went out of business) to pay $522,780. The judge calculated the amount in accordance with the number of complaints received by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Consumer Protection, as well as having Covatto pay half of the costs of the Attorney General’s investigation. Ironically (since debt collectors often file lawsuits against consumers and obtain default judgments), Covatto didn’t defend himself, and the AG obtained a default judgment against him.
Thursday, November 4th, 2010 at
Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett has filed a lawsuit against Unicredit America, Inc., for using deceptive tactics to mislead or coerce consumers. According to a press release issued by his office, Unicredit America even decorated a company office to look like a courtroom, and then held bogus hearings with unsuspecting consumers.
The lawsuit alleges that Unicredit (also known as Unicredit Debt Resolution Center) intimidated consumers with fictitious court proceedings, convincing them to provide Unicredit with access to bank accounts, to give the company vehicle titles, and to make immediate payments. It also alleges that people dressed as law enforcement officers delivered official-looking documents on Unicredit’s behalf.
According to Corbett:
“This is an unconscionable attempt to use fake court proceedings to deceive, mislead or frighten consumers into making payments or surrendering valuables to Unicredit without following lawful procedures for debt collection. Consumers also allegedly received dubious ‘hearing notices’ and letters – often hand-delivered by individuals who appear to be Sheriff Deputies – which implied they would be taken into custody by the Sheriff if they failed to appear at the phony court for “hearings” or “depositions.”
The lawsuit accuses Unicredit of violating Pennsylvania’s Consumer Protection Law and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Corbett also sought an injunction to freeze the company’s assets and to prohibit them for engaging in debt collection.