Debt collection agency busted in Orlando

Federal investigation results in arrests, search warrants

ORLANDO, Fla. - Investigators have arrested at least one person on Friday and served search warrants on several debt collection companies after they say the companies broke the law trying to get their money.

The attorney general has announced a temporary injunction and an asset freeze against Vanderbilt and Associates, Buchanan Capital Management, Merrill T. Miller and their affiliates.

One person is in custody already and police said they are expecting a lot more arrests.

Federal investigators served a search warrant at the business on Maguire Road and are confiscating truckloads of evidence including documents and dozens of hard drives. Police said they would call consumers and claim to be law enforcement, government agents or county clerk's office employees to scare consumers into paying debts that many times were non-existent or had already been paid.

"These are people on the other end of the phone. They would use scare tactics, putting fear in them, like they would take their homes. These victims were terrified," Orlando police Jim Young said Friday.

Police said over $200,000 has been seized from bank accounts.

The investigation was sparked by a civil complaint in July 2012.

The companies have changed its name several times in order to throw off investigators.

Police identified the suspect arrested Friday as Rex Alan Serio.  Serio was in the business during the search warrant and was found in possession of narcotics.  His involvement in the fraud investigation is still pending.

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