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Lockport-based debt collection agency shut down

A Lockport-based consumer debt collection agency that “repeatedly violated the law by harassing customers” was shuttered Wednesday by State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, according to Schneiderman’s office.

Business owner Sean Millard entered into an agreement with the attorney general’s office that he would shut down the operation of Swanson Walker & Associates and pay a $10,000 fine.

The Attorney General’s Office along with the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission received “dozens of complaints about the tactics the agency used when attempting to collect repayments” leading to Wednesday’s action.

“Attempting to get out of debt is a stressful and overwhelming process that countless consumers struggle with every day,” said Schneiderman. “To threaten and bully these individuals is unacceptable and wrong.”

Complaints alleged that Swanson debt collections “repeatedly and persistently violated the law” by improperly calling debtors at their places of employment, accusing them of check fraud and criminal violations, falsely reporting that a lawsuit had or would be filed, improperly disclosing consumer debts to third parties and improperly threatening to seize property, freeze bank accounts and garnishee wages, according to Schneiderman’s office.