In this country, owing money is not a criminal offense. It is in Dubai, where nearly half of the prison population is behind bars for defaulting on bank loans. But in the United States, incarceration for debt was abolished in 1833, and now debt itself is a mere civil matter. Sure, collection agencies want you to think the FBI cares whether or not you pay that Nordstrom bill. But they risk losing their licenses for so much as implying this, thanks to the U.S. Fair Trade Commission's Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, in effect since 1966.
Read between the lines and you'll see that these debtors weren't arrested for being debtors but -- in most cases -- for missing court dates for negotiating their debts. NOTHING MORE THAN THAT!
Incur debt and your creditor can call you, write
you, hire a collection agency and finally sue you. At that point a subpoena,
delivered via process server or registered mail, announces that you're now a defendant, your creditor a plaintiff. This subpoena
lists a date and time at which you are ordered to appear before a judge in civil court "to disclose your assets and liabilities and
determine how this defendant is going to pay this plaintiff," explains Will Lund, superintendent of Maine's Bureau of Consumer
Credit Protection, which enforces the FDCA and licenses collection agencies.
"Attendance by the defendant is mandatory. To
ensure that it's mandatory, a subpoena is involved. To not show up is not
dissing the plaintiff. It's dissing the court," Lund says. "It's contempt of court, and that can lead to arrest."
Most debtors don't realize that ignoring the summons
means crossing that line, exiting the stressful but safe realm of owing
money and entering the stark realm of mugshots and body searches and jail-issued sandwiches eaten among robbers and
arsonists. This transit happens when a judge signs a capias, a civil warrant for arrest on the basis of failure to appear in court.
"If you've got a capias against you for failure
to appear, you could be arrested if you're stopped by the police," affirms
Katherine Martell of Fairfax, Virginia-based K&M Law Group, which specializes in debt restructuring and debt recovery.
"That's not the same as snatching people off the street for not paying debts."
The frequency of such arrests, and law-enforcement
officers' eagerness to make them, vary from county to county and state
state, but given the severity of other crimes that cops have to deal with, this one is always low priority.
"It's not like a roundup where the police say,
'Hey, we're gonna go out and pick up all the debtors today," says attorney
Marshall Meyers of Phoeniz, Arizona-based Weisberg & Meyers. "But if you get pulled over for a traffic ticket, say, and
you've got a warrant for failure to appear in court, they can bring you in." CAVEAT EMPTOR!
So spread the word to your friends. Show up at court. Tell them you're jobless, have hungry children but no food, no home and you blame it on Wall Street so why shouldn't the Banksters and their killer corps suffer. The judge will help you go through bankruptcy. Screw the creditors and the greed they rode in on. BTW, If you have a house, you can even restructure the loan and go bankrupt both and still keep the home. I know, my son did it. He ended up renting the house out and living in the guest house with his wife and child but that's do-able. There will always be a light at the end of THAT tunnel!
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Our POSTER is ANITA SANDS HERNANDEZ, Los Angeles Writer, Futurist and Astrologer. Catch up with her websites TRUTHS GOV WILL HIDE & NEVER TELL YOU, also The FUTURE, WHAT'S COMIN' AT YA! FRUGAL LIFE STYLE TIPS, HOW TO SURVIVE the COMING GREAT DEPRESSION, and Secrets of Nature, HOLISTIC, AFFORDABLE HEALING. Also ARTISANRY FOR EXPORT, EARN EUROS....* Anita is at firstname.lastname@example.org ). Get a 15$ natal horoscope "my money/future life" reading now + copy horoscope as a Gif file graphic! No smarter, more accurate career reading out there!
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