Cuomo targets illegal debt collection tactics

(AP) - New York's attorney general said Tuesday heis trying to shut down a debt collector whose employees usedoutrageous tactics in several states, such as threatening tosexually attack one debtor's daughter, berating people as drunksand deadbeats, and bullying others with threats of arrest.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced the lawsuit against theBenning-Smith Group for what he claims are more than 1,000violations of state and federal law in New York alone. He said hisstaff has also spoken to people from Pennsylvania, Georgia, NorthCarolina and Texas who claim they were victims.

Cuomo said he is chasing more than 850 complaints and is suingat least 13 debt collection companies with separate names operatedunder the Benning-Smith Group.

"They did everything they could to demean and humiliate theirtargets, stooping so low as to sexually harass and verbally abuseindividuals nationwide," Cuomo said.

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