In a practice that has spread to more than 300 prosecutors’ offices, collection companies are sending signed letters on D.A. letterhead that threaten jail time unless the check writers settle up and pay for a “financial accountability” class, reported the New York Times.
In the arrangement between debt collectors and district attorneys, the agencies secure their share plus the class fee and the district attorneys get paid by the agencies or receive a share of the money collected, reported the Times.
Above the Law pointed out the potential conundrum of threatening someone with imprisonment on prosecutor letterhead before a lawyer has even considered the case. District attorneys explained to the Times that the letters reduce their caseload, and that only those who ignore merchant warnings are contacted.