Debt collectors are bound by strict rules when dealing with consumers and Texas officials accuse an Oklahoma of violating several of the.

Specifically, if you are trying to collect a debt, you can't tell the debtor you are a police officer or any kind of government official.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has charged Patrick D. "Dylan” White and his businesses - CASHMAX, Fed Cash, TOPCASH and Cash Service Center - with illegally misrepresenting itself as an official Dallas County government agency.

Abbott went to court and obtained an order against the defendants, prohibiting them from continuing to distribute fraudulent mailings.

Abbott says White incorporated his firm under the name Federal Cash Advance of Oklahoma, LLC, and maintains offices in Dallas County.

According to state investigators, the defendant sent deceptive collection letters to Texans with outstanding debts. The letters were delivered in envelopes that contained the Dallas County Clerk's forged signature and improperly bore the official seals of both the State of Texas and Dallas County.

Inside the envelopes, the defendant inserted notices of debt collection that instructed recipients to call a telephone number, which belonged to Federal Cash Advance's CASHMAX offices.

Illegal threats

The notice letters illegally threatened criminal prosecution, referenced a phony "case number” and cited fictitious criminal penalties of up to five years in prison and heavy fines.

The Texas Finance Code prohibits debt collectors from threatening debtors with prison sentences. It also bans deceptive collection notices that improperly pressure debtors to pay their debts.

In addition, the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act also prevents debt collectors from misrepresenting themselves to debtors and otherwise engaging in abusive behavior.

The State is seeking court-ordered penalties of up to $20,000 per violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Finance Code.