State of Illinois Sues Debt Collector for $23.7 Million
The State of Illinois has won a $23.7 million judgment from a Chicago law firm it once hired to pursue student-loan deadbeats.
A Cook County judge ordered the law firm of Friedman & Wexler and its lawyers Mitchell Wexler and Norman Wexler to pay the damages as a result of a lawsuit the Illinois Student Assistance Commission filed in 2006.
The state agency accused the law firm — which oversaw defaulted student-loan collections on behalf of the State of Illinois between 1994 and mid 2006 — of improperly pocketing commissions and shorting the state on money it was owed.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported in 2007 that the state claimed the firm had “wrongfully withheld” at least $1.6 million in commissions and improperly continued collecting money from debtors after its contract with the state lapsed in June 2006.
To what extent the state will be able to collect on the judgment isn’t clear. Both Wexlers have filed for bankruptcy, and their firm no longer has a working telephone number.
“Ironically, we’ll use all the tools that are normally available to a collector to try to collect from our collectors,” said Andrew Davis, the state agency’s executive director. “We’ll try to identify their assets and seize them.”