Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Federal Marshals Arrest A Man Because Of An Unpaid Student Loan
Yes, it's true. Seven U.S. Marshals armed with automatic weapons arrested a Texas man for not paying a $1,500 student loan from three decades ago.
And they didn't arrest the man nicely.
Paul Aker said he was surprised at his Houston home on Thursday, February 12 by seven officers dressed in combat gear.
"They grabbed me, they threw me down," the 48-year-old Aker told the Daily News on Tuesday.
Whatever happened to "Come with us please?"
He said when he asked the officers "what is this about? he was told to shut up. Anker says when he pressed for answers he was told, "You know what this is about".
They finally told him it was about a 30-year old student loan.
Aker said he was put in the back of a truck taken to the federal building in downtown Houston and placed in a cell. Later, he was brought to court, where a "prosecutor," county clerk and judge were present. Aker said the prosecutor was actually a collection lawyer.
"Then I get a lecture (from the judge) about the United States and stealing from the government," Aker said.
Aker told The News that he was ordered to pay $5,700 for the loan, including interest. However, Aker was also ordered to pay for the cost of the morning arrest — nearly $1,300. If he didn't pay that amount by March 1, he said, he was told he would be arrested again. .
Yes, my dear reader, this happen in America. Houston is in Texas and Texas is in America.
The marshalls later told a court the show of force was because they knew there was a firearm in Aker's home, albeit a registered one.
Akers says he received no letters or warnings that he was about to be arrested over the debt. And if reports are true - more folks are going to go to the slammer behind outstanding student loan debts.
According to Fox 26, U.S. Marshals are planning to serve up to 1,500 warrants to people who have not repaid their loans.
Is our own government sending their federal agents to lock up folks who owe student loans? In a round about way, they are.
It seems that the federal government has turned over collections of delinquent student loans to private debt collection agencies. Yeah, those same folks the government not too long ago tried to reel in because of their rogue and off the chain collections practices like - threatening to lock folks up over unpaid bills. Well the government turned around and hired them to do some collecting for them and by doing so opened the door for them to use federal marshals to snatch folks up that owe.
The private collectors are getting judgments in federal court and can ask for the marshals to arrest those who fail to pay as a result.
Now I don't condone anyone being irresponsible or blatantly blowing off their obligations. I also don't condone criminalizing delinquent debt - in most cases such as these student loans it's counter-productive to the objective of getting people to pay.
A lot of folks with student loan debt are working people that contributing to society and paying taxes all over the place. I would suggest putting the delinquents in a higher tax bracket where a percentage of the taxes they pay would be diverted to paying down their outstanding loan. That way over the years the debt is paid down or off altogether.
Arresting folks is not going to get the government anything in most cases. A lot of employers don't tolerate arrest records.
Arresting people is going to do is screw up their lives so bad they're going to lose jobs, houses, cars, and their means to make a living. An unemployed person can't pay taxes so the collectors will have effectively arrested the government out of at least the tax revenue they were getting.
And who do you think is footing the bill for the arrest? In Aker's case, it's reported his arrest cost upward of $1,300.00 to go after $1,500.00. You can bet the collectors aren't going to eat the cost. If they fail to collect the trumped up debt - the government is still going to pay the collectors.
So it looks like for right now it's Texans with outstanding student loans that stand to be arrested without warning.
Residents in the other 49 states, you can bet if this practice goes unchecked and you have an outstanding student loan there could be a banging on your door one day and it won't be the Avon lady or Jehovah's Witnesses.