The client of Attorney Jason Shear became disabled and subsequently got approved for Social Security Disability (SSD). He deposited his SSD checks into his bank account. In 2013, Mel S. Harris and Associates, LLC froze Plaintiff’s bank account containing his SSD income. Mel S. Harris & Associates is a debt collection law firm which represents debt buyers such as LR Credit, Pinpoint Technologies, Rushmore Recoveries, Crown Asset Management and others. Plaintiff informed Mel S. Harris & Associates (MSH) that his account contained exempt funds from SSD. The collector at the Mel S. Harris law firm informed our client that he had to turn over the exempt funds to the Mel S. Harris law firm. A representative from Mel Harris told Plaintiff that he had to “cut a check” to MSH or the sheriff would go to court with the paperwork. Said statement was untrue and extremely deceptive. When our client informed the collector working at the Mel S. Harris law firm that the money in his account was from SSD, the paralegal/collector told our client that they could take the SSD funds because he transferred the money from checking to savings. Said statement is untrue and deceptive under the FDCPA. The Social Security Act provides that Social Security benefits are not transferable or assignable, and forbids “execution, levy, attachment, garnishment or other legal process” to reach benefits paid or payable to recipients. See, 42 U.S.C. sections 407(a), 1383(d)(1). Even after our client informed the Mel S. Harris and Associates representative that all funds in his account were from SSD, they continued to try to intimidate him into turning over the funds to them. Mel S. Harris and Associates knew full well that all funds were from SSD and therefore had no legal rights to freeze his account. We then sued Mel S. Harris and Associates, LLC under the FDCPA and obtained a confidential settlement for our client.
Practice Area: FDCPA
Debt Collection Law Firm: Mel S. Harris & Associates, LLC
Violation: Threatened to freeze Social Security Disability benefits
Outcome: Confidential settlement for client