AG’s office files lawsuit seeking to shut down collection agency

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office has filed a complaint asking the court to block a New York-based collection agency from doing business in the Mountain State.

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office has filed a complaint asking the court to block a New York-based collection agency from doing business in the Mountain State.

The complaint, filed September 23 in Mingo Circuit Court, claims Bayside Capital Services and owner John Max Werth engaged in the business of debt collection without proper licensing and by using unlawful, high-pressure tactics.

“Unlawful debt collection activity exacerbates the stress facing consumers,” Morrisey said in a press release. “Our office will ensure that anyone collecting debts in West Virginia is properly licensed and operating within state law.”


The lawsuit alleges Bayside contacted consumers at their workplaces and threatened to arrest those who didn’t pay. The investigation steemed from a consumer complaint out of Mason County. Further digging revealed similar allegations in Nicholas, Randolph and Mingo counties.

The suit alleges Bayside disclosed it collected payments on 12 accounts from consumers residing in Cabell, Jefferson, Kanawha, Marshall, Mason, Mingo, Nicholas, Randolph, Wayne and Wood counties. The company did not disclose the number of persons it contacted without successful collection.

The complaint further alleges that Bayside failed to notify consumers of their right to dispute debts within five days after the first debt collection contact, demanded payment in full before the 30-day dispute period expired and demanded payment without any proof of the alleged debt.

The lawsuit seeks civil penalties of up to $5,000 for each alleged violation of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, restitution and a court order prohibiting Bayside from collecting debts in West Virginia.

Senior Assistant AG Norman Googel and Assistant AG Michael Morrison are working the case for Morrisey’s office. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Miki Thompson.

Mingo Circuit Court case number 21-C-109

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