Owe Money, Miss a Court Date, Go to Jail?
SPRINGFIELD,Ill. (IRN) – An association that represents debt collectors in Illinois says they are on the same page as the Illinois attorney general when it comes to concerns related to arrest warrants issued when a debtor misses a court date on a collection case, but disagrees with the comparisons to “debtors’ prisons.”
Eric Mock, president of the Illinois Collectors Association, says Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s comparison of the practice to debtors’ prison is an inaccurate one. He says it’s ultimately up to the judge to decide if a warrant should be issued and also up to the judge to decide if bond money is to be turned over to the creditor.
Mock admits some creditors have asked this to happen, but he emphasizes that it’s at the judge’s discretion. “At times that does happen, that there are times when the creditor request that the bail money be applied to the outstanding debt,” Mock said. “Again, that’s at the judge’s sole discretion. The creditor can ask for it but only a judge can do that.”
Mock says the association would have no problem discontinuing that practice. He says the association has requested a meeting with the attorney general, which so far hasn’t taken place.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation wants to ban the practice. It held hearings earlier this month in Alton and Marion to solicit testimony on instances when this happened.
According to the ICA, Illinois-based debt collectors recover $2.7 billion annually in unpaid debts to businesses, government and non-profits and the practice employs more than 8,000 people.