Attorney General James Shuts Down Illegal Debt Collection Firms, Recovers $ 1.2 Million



Collectors have made illegal, false and deceptive threats to consumers to collect their debts

AG James encourages victims of New York
to those deceptive debt collectors to file a claim

BUFFALO – New York Attorney General Letitia James announced today that she is ending an illegal debt collection program operating in western New York and is recovering $ 1.2 million in penalties and compensation for victims. A deal with Buffalo-based debt collector Andrew Fanelli and his companies – Northwood Asset Management Group LLC, Pinnacle Asset Recovery Group LLC and Koalaty Pay LLC – permanently bars them from any future consumer debt collection. Collectors working for Fanelli’s companies routinely used illegal tactics to collect consumer debt, including bogus threats of criminal action, wage garnishment, driver’s license suspension and lawsuits.

“New Yorkers can be confident that I will always stand up for our most vulnerable, especially when their wallets are at risk,” said Attorney General James. “While illegal debt collectors have used Buffalo as a center of operations for illicit behavior for years, we continue to fight and shut down these businesses one by one. The illegal behavior perpetrated by Andrew Fanelli and his companies has defrauded consumers, but this deal will put an end to their illegal behavior, once and for all. I encourage anyone who may have fallen victim to these deceptive debt collectors to immediately file a claim with our office to recover what was stolen from them.

Fanelli began his debt collection career collecting debts for Douglas MacKinnon, an illegal debt collection kingpin shut down by Attorney General James in 2019. His company operated as Fanelli and Associates, before changing its name for Northwood Asset Management Group. Fanelli also used another of its companies, Pinnacle Asset Recovery, to buy consumer debt. Call tapes obtained by the Attorney General’s Office (OAG) revealed that collectors working for Fanelli routinely used deceptive and illegal threats to collect consumer debts.

Fanelli also worked as a debt broker, selling debts and placing debts to collect from other collectors who engaged in gross violations of the law. For example, Fanelli incurred debts with Kenneth Thomas’ company, Midway Resolution Services LLC, which defrauded and harassed consumers by using call spoofing and impersonating government officials to collect the debts. . Thomas and his business were sued by the MPC in September 2020 and have since been shut down and banned from debt collection. Fanelli also operated Koalaty Pay LLC, a business that helped other illegal debt collectors obtain payment processing services.

This agreement permanently prohibits Fanelli and its businesses from engaging in consumer debt collection, consumer debt brokerage, consumer loans, debt settlement, credit repair services, and credit repair. payment processing. Within six months, Fanelli is required to dissolve all of its companies.

The agreement also requires Fanelli and its companies to pay the OAG $ 1.2 million in restitution and penalties.

Any consumer who has been the subject of false and unlawful threats by Northwood Asset Management Group may be entitled to compensation and should promptly file a complaint with the Buffalo Regional Office of the OAG.

This case is being handled by the Assistant Deputy Attorney General in charge of the Buffalo Regional Office, Christopher L. Boyd, with the assistance of the Senior Consumer Fraud Representative, Karen Davis. The Buffalo regional office is headed by Deputy Attorney General in charge Michael Russo and is part of the regional affairs division. The Regional Affairs Division is headed by Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs Jill Faber and is overseen by Senior Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.



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