FCO Holding, Inc., Fair Collections & Outsourcing, Inc., Fair Collections & Outsourcing of New England, Inc., FCO Worldwide, Inc., and Michael E. Sobota
On September 25, 2019, the Bureau filed a complaint in federal court in the District of Maryland against Maryland-based debt collector FCO Holding, Inc. and its subsidiaries, Fair Collections & Outsourcing, Inc., Fair Collections & Outsourcing of New England, Inc., and FCO Worldwide, Inc. (collectively, FCO). Also named as a defendant in the Bureau’s lawsuit is Michael E. Sobota, the chief executive officer, president, director, and owner of FCO Holding, Inc. The Bureau alleged that FCO, which furnishes information to consumer reporting agencies, violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Regulation V by failing to maintain reasonable policies and procedures regarding the accuracy and integrity of the information it furnishes, including the handling of consumer disputes, failing to conduct reasonable investigations of certain consumer disputes, and failing to cease furnishing information that was alleged to have been the result of identity theft before it made any determination whether the information was accurate. In addition, the Bureau alleged that FCO and Sobota violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act when FCO represented that consumers owed certain debts when, in fact, FCO did not have a reasonable basis to assert that the consumers owed those debts. On October 27, 2021, the court entered a stipulated final judgment and order, which requires defendants to pay a $850,000 civil money penalty and put in place policies and procedures to prevent future violations.