This week, it was announced that a now-defunct debt collection company based out of Culver City had been sentenced for its role in a scheme that paid bribes to a public official in Arizona. In return, the company received confidential information that helped it collect nearly $1 million in outstanding debts. Professional Collection Consultants was ordered to pay a $350,000 fine and to forfeit $946,770. The forfeiture represented the amount of money that the company was able to collect in eight months as a result of the illegally obtained information.
Court documents show that PCC paid bribes to an employee with the Arizona Department of Economic Security from 2010 through August of 2013. In return, the public official provided PCC with wage and earnings information for certain Social Security numbers. 56-year-old Michael S. Flowers, who was a PCC employee, was charged in the case. Flowers was accused of providing the Arizona official with the names and social security numbers of thousands of individuals who owned money on accounts serviced by the company.
The public official sent confidential information on each individual or advised that no wages existed for the Social Security number in question. The company used the information to determine whether or not it made financial sense to sue the debtor. PCC and Flowers have both pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit bribery concerning a program receiving federal funds. Flowers will be sentenced on May 29, 2018. Further details have been made available here.