Outstanding Student Loans? You May Be Arrested By Armed Federal Agents
The ever increasing cost of college education has become a central topic of debate in US politics over the last few years, and will likely be an important issue for millions of voters in the 2016 election. Around 40 million Americans currently have outstanding student loan debt. The idea of being forcibly arrested and held against your will for outstanding student loans is probably not a thought that many college grads have entertained - but that's exactly what happened to Paul Akers.
Akers has $1,500 in outstanding student loan debt, which he has owed since 1987. Last week, seven US Marshals armed with automatic weapons burst into his home, arrested him, and took him to jail. He was brought to a federal court and forced to sign a payment plan. He says he received no collections or warning via mail or otherwise leading up to the arrest.
Perhaps the most frightening part is that this enforcement action was carried out on behalf of a private lender. The US Marshals were contracted by the private company that holds Akers' debt, and he was brought before a private attorney - not a government attorney or judge. Debtors' prisons have been outlawed in the US for almost two centuries, yet it seems the practice of using law enforcement to arrest and jail people for failing to pay their debts is happening once again.