The U.S. Marshals Service is being used in Texas to arrest people for not paying outstanding federal student loans, even in cases going back decades.
During the week of Feb. 7, Houston man Paul Aker said the U.S. Marshals Service showed up at his home, fully armed with automatic weapons, and arrested him for a $1,500 federal student loan he took out in 1987, KRIV reports.
"I was wondering, why are you here. I am home, I haven't done anything. It was totally mind-boggling," said Aker.
Aker was taken to a federal court where he had to sign a repayment plan for the loan. Aker says he had not received any prior warnings or notices about the loan, according to the New York Daily News.
KRIV reports from a close source with the U.S. Marshals Service that it is planning to serve up to 1,500 warrants to people who have not repaid outstanding loans.
Democratic Rep. Gene Green says that debt collectors are used by the federal government to compel repayment of these loans. As a result, those debt collectors and their attorneys are getting judgments in federal courts and then asking judges to use the U.S. Marshals Service to arrest people who haven't repaid their loans.
Green says it's worrisome that private debt collectors are able to use a branch of the federal government in this manner.
"There's bound to be a better way to collect on a student loan debt that is so old," he told KRIV.