A debt collection firm named Aeon Financial foreclosed upon more than 400 properties in Cuyahoga County, the largest county in Ohio. The company also apparently had purchased a number of liens in other states across the country as well. Yet what is truly unusual about these circumstances is the fact that Aeon information lists no owners or company website. Its operations stem from mail-drop boxes in Chicago and the company apparently is represented by a law firm with a Colorado address.
This debt collection firm is known for its aggressive practices. It purchases liens on properties when owners fall behind on taxes and then is said to charge families large fees in order to prevent the home from going into foreclosure.
Aeon’s practices have been accused of being predatory and unlawful. Judges have criticized the firm for overbilling. One attorney claimed he received a notification of back taxes owed on his condominium from Aeon – before he knew that any back taxes were even owed.
Aeon is accused of taking deeds to a number of homes in Cleveland and failing to care for the property when the homes did not sell. This resulted in more than 100 property code violations.
Tax lien investors like Aeon have been accused of foreclosing upon property owned by the elderly, disabled and poor. One teacher waged a more than two-year legal battle with the company concerning Aeon’s bills. While the teacher paid the $500 in back property taxes he apparently owed, Aeon then demanded he pay $4,200 for Aeon’s legal fees and expenses. The judge eventually slashed the fees to $952. There have been other similar cases reported as well.
As this demonstrates, it’s often worthwhile for someone facing harassment by creditors to speak to an experienced attorney who understands abusive debt collection practices. These sorts of practices can often result in large numbers of individuals being harmed.
The Washington Post, “Debt-Collecting Machine,” Michael Sallah and Debbie Cenziper, Dec. 8, 2013