Local District Attorneys Sell Their Letterhead & Threats Of Jailtime To Debt Collectors (Techdirt)
Wednesday September 19th, 2012
We've been quite reasonably bothered by the FBI handing out its seal to copyright holders to falsely imply that mere personal copying is a criminal offense that might get you sent to jail. However, it appears that this handing off of government law enforcement threats to private parties goes much, much further. Over the weekend, the NY Times wrote about the amazingly common practice of local district attorneys' offices allowing debt collectors to send threat letters on their stationary and signed by the local DA -- effectively threatening those who, for example, passed a bounced check, with potential jailtime if they don't pay up.
The DAs office, it appears, is literally selling the use of their stationary. In exchange for letting debt collectors appear both a lot more official and for falsely suggesting that law enforcement is pursuing criminal action, the debt collectors "sell" a "financial accountability" class, from which some of the proceeds get kicked back to the DAs' offices.