|March 1, 2013
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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TALLAHASEE, Fla.–Attorney General Pam Bondi's office has obtained a temporary injunction and asset freeze against Vanderbilt & Associates, LLC, Buchanan Capital Management, LLC, and their owner for allegedly engaging in unlawful debt collection schemes. The Office of Financial Regulation and the Orlando Police Department assisted with the case involving allegations that the companies would call consumers and claim to be law enforcement officials, government agents, process servers or county clerk’s office employees to intimidate or scare consumers into paying debts. In many cases, these alleged practices were targeted at debts that were non-existent, had already been paid, or for which the company had no legal rights to collect. These alleged practices are in violation of the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act.
“We will do everything within our power to protect Floridians from unlawful debt collection practices that often employ scare tactics to manipulate individuals,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. “My office will continue to partner with the Office of Financial Regulation and the Orlando Police Department to enforce Florida’s tough consumer protection laws.”
“We are committed to working with our partners in law enforcement to prosecute those who engage in unlicensed and unlawful activities and to protect the citizens of Florida,” said Commissioner Drew J. Breakspear, Florida Office of Financial Regulation. “We encourage Floridians to always do their homework before doing businesses with anyone, including debt collectors. Be sure to verify a company’s license and if you suspect questionable practice, request assistance by contacting the company’s regulatory agency or law enforcement.”
"The Orlando Police Department will relentlessly investigate these crimes and work together with other agencies, including Attorney General Pam Bondi's office and the Office of Financial Regulation, to ensure that those responsible are held accountable. In uncertain economic times, for those to take advantage of victims trying to support their families financially is reprehensible," stated Chief Paul Rooney.
The temporary injunction bars the companies and their owners from engaging in unlawful debt collection schemes. It also bars them from using any unfair or deceptive practices in the collection of consumer debts and from violating of the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act. The temporary injunction and asset freeze were obtained against Vanderbilt & Associates, LLC, Buchanan Capital Management, LLC, Merrill T. Miller, and their affiliates.