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ProPublica: They Loan You Money. Then They Get A Warrant For Your Arrest.

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Cecila Avila was finishing a work shift at a Walmart. David Gordon was at church. Darrell Reese was watching his granddaughter at home. Jessica Albritton had pulled into the parking lot at her job, where she packed and shipped bike parts.


All four were arrested by an armed constable, handcuffed and booked into jail. They spent anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days behind bars before being released after paying a few hundred dollars in bail or promising to appear in court.


None of the four, who live in northern Utah and were detained last year, had committed a crime. They had each borrowed money at high interest rates from a local lender called Loans for Less and were sued for owing sums that ranged from $800 to $3,600. When they missed a court date, the company obtained a warrant for their arrest.


Avila was handcuffed and marched down the main aisle in the Walmart in front of customers and co-workers. “It was the most embarrassing thing,” said Avila, 30, who has worked at the store for eight years. At the time of the arrest, Loans for Less had applied to garnish her wages. “It just didn’t make any sense to me,” she said. “Why am I being arrested for it?”


It’s against the law to jail someone because of an unpaid debt. Congress banned debtors prisons in 1833. Yet, across the country, debtors are routinely threatened with arrest and sometimes jailed, and the practices are particularly aggressive in Utah. (ProPublica recently chronicled how medical debt collectors are wielding similar powers in Kansas.)


Most people scramble to meet bail to avoid being incarcerated. Others, like Avila, Gordon and Albritton, are booked into jail and held until they pay. They often borrow from friends, family, bail bonds companies and even take on new payday loans.


“Bail” has a different meaning in Utah than it does in other states — one that tilts the power even more in the direction of lenders and other creditors. In 2014, state legislators passed a law that made it possible for creditors to get access to bail money posted in civil cases. Prior to that, bail money would return to the defendant. Now, it is routinely transferred to high-interest lenders. The law has transformed the state’s power to incarcerate into a powerful tool to guarantee that loan companies get paid.

As Peterson put it, “They’re handcuffing and incarcerating people in order to get money out of them and apply it towards insanely high interest rate loans.”


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2 hours ago, PleaseBlitz said:


No, just probably lose their job for missing a shift.  


That would be bad since they need to pay the loan and fine.....maybe court costs as well


 We should just let em off 🤡



they could hire a good lawyer to represent them right???....can I get a amen from the vulture seats? 

Edited by twa
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It's one of those stupid things like jailing someone who is in arrears with child support. A JAILED PERSON CANNOT PAY ANYTHING TO ANYONE!...will lose their job, probably their home/apartment, get their vehicle repossessed, and lose any decent credit rating they might have had. How does that help ANYTHING? 



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They get away with it because people who find themselves to be so high up that this cant effect them see this as some kind of game. TWA is a good example of what I mean. He strikes me as the type of cat that would cry foul if he or his family were ever in these kinds of situations. But because to him it seems impossible for it to happen to him, its a joke. I dont know how to characterize it better than that. 

  • Haha 1
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In torn on this.

On the one hand, I despise payday loans and predatory lending.

I think its despicable to loan money to people who cant afford it at astronomical rates knowing full well your intention is to essentially make them indentured servants to the interest.

On the other hand I also know there are people who take advantage of lenders knowing that there are laws that protect them from being deadbeats and never intending to pay back what they borrowed. 


This is why the lending industry should be the most strictly regulated industry in the world.

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