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Lawsuits target two “abusive” Buffalo-area debt collectors

State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and the Federal Trade Commission have filed joint lawsuits aiming to permanently shut down two Buffalo-area debt collectors whom government officials denounced as “abusive.”

The lawsuits target Vantage Point Services LLC in Amherst and Four Star Resolution LLC in Buffalo. The FTC said a federal judge has temporarily halted both defendants’ practices, as requested by the FTC and Schneiderman’s office.

“Today’s action should make it clear that nobody is above the law, and when shady debt collectors engage in illegal and abusive business practices, they will be held accountable,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said the cases “will help protect consumers from debt collectors that disregard the law in an attempt to make a buck.”

Both cases were filed in U.S. District Court in Buffalo. The complaints contend the debt collectors “used threats and abusive language, including false threats that consumers would be arrested, to collect more than $45 million in supposed debts,” Schneiderman’s office said.

The Attorney General’s Office and the FTC say they are seeking to “permanently stop the illegal conduct and to obtain money to provide refunds to consumers.” They said the two operations were targeting consumers nationwide. In its press release, the FTC called the two debt collection operations “particularly egregious and abusive.”