PINELLAS COUNTY, FL. – A debt collector who claimed he wasn’t, lost his lawsuit against a St. Pete resident whose 2013 Chevy Cruze, had been re-possessed and written off by the original lender.
Attempting to collect on the old debt, the unregistered debt collector violated Florida’s consumer collection agency laws which relieved the consumer of liability.
In a deposition, Gregory Straub, President of Persolve Recoveries LLC who sued U.S. Army veteran, Terry Washington, 41 of St. Pete, failed to convince Washington’s Tampa attorney Tyler Bannon that his Delaware business was not in the business of collecting debt.
Initially, Straub purchased written-off debts from a lender named “Bridgecrest Acceptance Corporation” under a California company he owned – then contracted a Florida law firm – attorney Daniel Consuegra of Consuegra and Duffy, PLLC, to collect on the debts he bought.
Florida law states that “any debt collector” must register with the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, which was not done as of the date of the lawsuit filed against Washington. Straub was viewed as having merely hired an “agent” to do his collecting work when he outsourced collections activities to the legal firm.
In a Pinellas County “Order Granting Defendant’s Amended Motion for Summary Judgment,” Straub was denied the right to collect on Washington’s debt.
Washington then filed a class-action lawsuit on March 10 against Persolve Recoveries LLC, demanding damages and nearly $12,000 in legal expenses to defend against an illegally operating “consumer collection agency” in the State of Florida. The lawsuit states that Straub and his business also violated the U.S. Federal “Fair Debt Collection Practices Act” known as “FDCPA.”
It is not yet known how many consumers were illegally approached for debt collections through Persolve Recoveries, but Washington’s class-action lawsuit states, “Plaintiff submits that there are in excess of one hundred, and more likely thousands of individuals throughout the State of Florida who are potential members of the Class.”
The class-action lawsuit alleges that the “Defendant has violated the FDCPA by “…filing a lawsuit without the legal right to so…” and “threatening to take an action that cannot legally be taken…”
Aaron M. Swift of Swift, Isringhaus, and Dubbeld, is Esquire and Lead Trial Counsel for Washington. The law firm is located in Bay Pines, St. Petersburg.
The case is demanding a trial by jury.