In what might be an extreme use of government resources, reports are coming forth that U.S. Marshals are serving warrants and arresting people for outstanding federal student loans. A Houston man says that seven armed marshals arrived on his doorstep for a $1500 loan he took out nearly 30 years ago, but there might be more to the story according to Yahoo! Finance.
Paul Aker sat down for an interview by local Fox News affiliate, Fox 26, flanked by U.S. Congressman Gene Green. Aker explained that last Thursday, the marshals came to his home and took him to a holding cell at a federal courthouse ahead appearing before a judge. Aker claims that he did not receive any correspondence regarding the loan he took out in 1987 prior to the arrest, and says he wasn’t read his rights nor did he have legal representation.
Aker went on to add that instead of a federally-appointed attorney, there was a lawyer from a private practice seeking payment of the debt. Under the pressure of the marshals, Aker says that he signed off on a payment plan. Congressman Green added in Fox 26’s report that U.S. Marshals have been contracted out by the private sector, including bill collection agencies.
Yahoo! Finance has a different take on the matter:
Back in November 2007, Aker was sued by the federal government for nonpayment of more than $2,600 in unpaid federal student loan debt, according to documents from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas (embedded below). The court record shows that Aker, listed as Winford P. Aker in the complaint, did not appear in court to answer the lawsuit and, as is common when student loan borrowers fail to appear, the presiding judge ruled against him and ordered Aker to pay the full balance on April 17, 2007.
According to a statement from the U.S. Marshals Service, Aker repeatedly refused to show up in court after being contacted several times. Disobeying a court order is a criminal offense. Within a few months, the judge issued a warrant for his arrest, which the U.S. Marshals carried out. So, yes, Aker was arrested, but not just because he owed a little student loan debt. He was arrested for disobeying a court order.
The website goes on the say that the marshals wrote in their statement that Aker resisted arrest and went back into his home after telling the officers that he too was armed. Following a reported two-hour standoff, Aker peacefully exited his home.
Yahoo! did add that it was possible Aker never received notice of the court summons because of the name issue but didn’t elaborate on why it took the marshals years to locate the man.
Fox 26 added that sources tell them this is just one of many such arrests to come.
SOURCE: Yahoo! Finance, Fox 26| PHOTO CREDIT: Getty