It’s not a crime to owe money, and debtors prisons have been abolished — but that doesn’t mean that people are not being routinely arrested and put in jail for failing to pay debts. A few weeks ago the Minneapolis Star-Tribune published an investigative piece about arrest warrants being issued for people with less than $100 in debt, many of whom didn’t even know that a collector had taken legal action against them. Now, following a letter by Sen. Al Franken (noted hater of the Comcast, NBC merger), the FTC has agreed to look into the issue.
“We’re trying to identify what the practices are, under what conditions people who may have consumer debt collection claims against them may be jailed, and whether such practices are in conformity with federal law,” said Julie Bush, a staff attorney in the FTC’s division of financial practices. She said the inquiry was not a formal investigation.
Here’s the original article.