LEO: Collections: Preparation of Bogus  LE Op. 1103


Collections: Preparation of Bogus Documents.


June 29, 1988


You advise that an attorney prepared a warrant in debt and mailed it to a

debtor in an attempt to collect upon a debt due to the attorney's client,

although the warrant in debt was never filed in court. The warrant in debt

showed a return date and also showed the same date and time in the place

on the warrant in debt where an authorized officer is directed to summon

the defendant to appear before the court to answer the plaintiff's claim.

The date issued position and the signature position on the warrant are

left blank. The name of the plaintiff as well as the defendant was shown.

The amount of the claim, costs and "legal rate" of interest was shown as

being due. The name of the secretary and the attorney were rubber-stamped

upon the document with the following notation: "You may avoid judgment by

paying this amount directly to our office." The document was received by

the defendant's father, who inferred that an action had been filed against

his daughter, whereupon he promptly paid the debt. You further state that

the costs were listed on the warrant in debt in the amount claimed even

though suit had not been filed and the handwritten notation calls for

payment in the amount shown upon the claim. You also state that it is

routine in collections matters once a warrant in debt has been filed to

mail a copy of said warrant to the defendant, pursuant to the statute, to

allow action in the case of posted service.


You wish to know whether or not the mailing of this warrant in debt by

the attorney was improper.


The Committee opines that the clear intent of sending this warrant in

debt was to obtain payment of the debt by misleading the recipient into

believing that the warrant in debt had been filed in court and that a

judgment would be obtained on the return date stated on the warrant.

Therefore, it is the Committee's opinion that sending this warrant in debt

violated DR:7-102(A)(7).


Committee Opinion June 29, 1988