FTC Fines and Closes National Check Registry

National Check Registry and related companies were abusive debt collectors. Thanks to the FTC, they are no more.

National Check Registry, all the related companies and the three individuals behind the enterprise agreed to lifetime bans on working in debt collection and to give up “virtually all of their assets” to partially satisfy an $8.3 million judgment against them. Read more in the FTC’s press release

Calling from their boiler rooms in Buffalo, New York, the National Check Registry enterprise employed a “pay up or else” collection strategy in which they falsely claimed that people had committed check fraud or another crime, says the FTC. The callers also falsely threatened that people would be sued, have their wages garnished, and be arrested unless they made a payment. National Check Registry also routinely failed to provide people with legally-required notices, and charged illegal processing fees. All of these actions are against the law.

The FTC’s settlement order bans the defendants—Joseph C. Bella, III, Diane Bella, Luis A. Shaw, and nine interrelated companies they controlled, including National Check Registry—from engaging in debt collection or assisting others in the industry. The order also prohibits the defendants from making misrepresentations in the marketing, sale, or advertising of any financial-related product or service. In addition, the order enters an $8.3 million judgment against the defendants, which will be suspended after they turn over virtually all of their assets.