Employees of a debt collection company in Georgia are accused of impersonating FBI, Justice Department and local police officials to get thousands of people to pay up, the Guardian reports .
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the employees of Williams, Scott and Associates illegally collected debts from 6,000 people and are now facing criminal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The employees face up to 20 years in prison.
After buying the debt for a few cents on the dollar, the company began collecting the money from 6,000 people after saying they were investigators. The employees collected $4.1 million this year, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.
“After years of threatening false arrest, these defendants are the ones who now find themselves in handcuffs,” said US attorney for the southern district of New York Preet Bharara in a statement.