The owner of a former debt collection agency in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has been charged with bank fraud and aggravated identity theft after he defrauded a bank of more than $126,000.
William Ferguson of LaPlace, Louisiana, was recently released after being charged with the crimes, and stands accused of 61 counts of fraud, as well as three counts of aggravated ID theft, according to a report from the Associated Press. His trial is scheduled fro begin on September 6, according to U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Reidlinger.
The charges stem from Ferguson allegedly opening an account at Hancock Bank in the name of his debt collection agency, then writing and depositing checks to his company in the names of both customers and companies being portrayed as customers.
Many debt collection agencies are coming under greater scrutiny from government and law enforcement agencies, as they sometimes use abusive or even illegal tactics to attempt to convince consumers to make payments into bad debt. These tactics can include harassing phone calls made to the debtors' homes or offices.