If I was contacted by an attorney and told I was going to be going to jail tomorrow if I do not pay up now, is that legal?

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If I was contacted by an attorney and told I was going to be going to jail tomorrow if I do not pay up now, is that legal?

I had a check cashing account with a company. I had taken out $3,000 and ended up not having enough to cover my payments. I was first contacted by their collections department a few months ago and we had set up a payment plan to get this taken care of. I was able to reduce the $3,000 debt down to $1900 over the last few months. However this month the company did not take a payment out of my account. I was contacted by a law firm today and they advised me if I cannot come up with $1900 by tomorrow, I am going to be arrested and taken to jail for bad checks.

Asked on September 22, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, New York

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you were contacted by an attorney or a representative of a law firm that if you did not pay a certain amount concerning an obligation that you were going to be arrested and taken to jail for bad checks, you need to contact the State Bar of the state that you reside in and make a complaint against the law firm and the attorney who contacted you and said what you say was said.

It is an ethical violation for an attorney to threaten a criminal matter to gain an advantage in a civil dispute. From a criminal perspective, your statement about what the attorney told you could be considered "extortion", a criminal offense.

You might also want to contact a debt collection attorney in that the call to you could be considered an illegal debt collection practice.


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