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AND IT WAS ALL PREVENTABLE

Posted Thursday, October 23, 2014 by Andrea Schlack.

Lately I have been very sad so I hope you will allow me a little cathartic indulgence while I explain why I am sad, mad, & disappointed and how my feelings are collateral damage from a set of circumstances that could have all been preventable!

In the early summer of 2013, on that first perfect summer day that inspires everyone to dream of playing hooky, I decided I deserved a vacation day so I left the office instructing my staff to not bother me unless it was a dire emergency. I was headed to my sister’s house for an afternoon of puppy play, poolside, and for a relaxing lunch in the warm summer air when my cell phone intruded upon my anticipated tranquility. My assistant, very apologetically, called to inform me that a FBI agent had just called asking for me and that he had also faxed over an information subpoena for a grand jury investigation. I thought my staff was pranking me because I knew that service by fax is not an acceptable form of service so I called the Agent’s number fully anticipating it was going to be some obscene joke line…It wasn’t ..It was the REAL DEAL! The Government was investigating a very serious crime.

To my complete shock and surprise the Agent informed me that a Grand Jury had been convened to investigate a couple of sales persons who allegedly used strong arm tactic to collect money from some non-paying customers. These customers had been placed for collection with PICB, hence why I was contacted; The FBI wanted my records. I really thought the documents exposed credit cheats and it was about time there were some comeuppance on deadbeats who profited and thrived upon the sweat equity of hard working Printers!

PRINTING INDUSTRY CREDIT BUREAU, I, NOR THE PRINTER WERE THE FOCUS OF THIS PROBE.

Under a federal subpoena PICB was ordered to provide the government with our records that related to their case therefore we had no choice but to cooperate. I provided the documents requested even though I was in disbelief; No one would be so arrogantly stupid to hire thugs to collect commissions. I really believed my records were going to help prove innocence so I spent several hours with this Agent reviewing several cases. I explained our collection procedures and showed him the various steps PICB takes to try and recover money due. I further detailed how we use the internet to skip trace and locate debtors and/or assets and explained the importance of doing so not only impacts recovery but also identifies when a case is suit worthy should the debtor be uncooperative, and how these same tools were used to form our sister company, Check It Company that provides Credit Risk Assessment reports on prospective credit customers.

In one specific case the FBI had focused upon, a credit scammer who we deemed ’a ghost operation’, was ultimately closed as not collectable. I explained how we determined the sham business had no physical address (the Printer only knew a PO Box). The customer provided phone number was an unregistered cell that always went to voice mail and no calls were ever returned. I showed the Agent how the public records further exposed this con’s duplicity, how he had created six corporate entities in as many years, and all having been dissolved by the state and each having used mail drops as their address for service. I explained that ultimately this file was closed by the client, whom I believed choose wisely to not waste further money chasing ghosts, despite the substantial debt due.

Several other cases were reviewed and each had similar flaws. These various credit cheats owed large sums of money and should NOT have been granted credit. They all were questionable operations with little or no assets, they had similar history to the ghost, there were prior failed businesses, prior law suits, and other questionable issues: Despite all the records the credit cons got credit lines that they never intended to pay!

The salespersons were convicted on all counts and now they are facing serious jail time.

I am sad because while I did not know them well, I knew of them and never suspected they could do what they had been charged with, yet in reflection I really believe their crime was born from the passion of the moment, the frustration of working hard for nothing. I am not making an excuse for what they did because IT WAS WRONG but I hope we can all spend a moment trying to understand an act of desperation so we may all prevent similar circumstances.

A moment’s credit wisdom prevents losses.

Questions?
Call us any time at (847) 265-0400For Collections, visit PICB: www.picb-us.comFor Risk Assessment, visit Check It Co: www.checkitco.com