7 deputy US marshals reportedly arrested a guy over a $1,500 student loan he took out 29 years ago

From Business Insider:

Last week, seven deputy US Marshals arrested a man named Paul Aker in Houston, Texas over a student loan from nearly 30 years ago, Fox Houston reported.

The US Marshals were dressed in full combat gear and were carrying automatic weapons, Aker said. When they came to his door, he was confused.

“I was wondering, why are you here?” he told Fox.

The arrest was over a $1,500 student loan he received in 1987, Aker said. He says he received no certified mail or notices about the outstanding debt in the past 29 years.

To be clear, you usually can’t be arrested simply for failing to pay debt in America. The US banned debtors’ prisons in 1833, and the US Supreme Court has ruled they’re unconstitutional.

However, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has noted that lenders can obtain judgments against you if you fail to pay.

“[If] you ignore an order to appear in court, a judge may issue a warrant for your arrest,” the CFPB added. “You should never ignore a court order.”


The US Marshals were dressed in full combat gear and were carrying automatic weapons, Aker said

That makes sense to arrest someone for a 29 year old debt of $1500 wearing full combat gear and carrying automatic weapons. A person like that must be a dangerous character…:rolleyes:

Well, any law that’s passed ultimately can lead to use of force in upholding it. Like a ban on selling individual cigarettes leading to someone getting choked and killed.

Although, assuming what the guy said was true about receiving no notice, you’d think it would be far more cost effective to send a letter/call him on the phone first. How much do you think it cost to have seven deputies make the arrest, process him at the jail for holding, process him for release, set the court appearance times, etc. etc.

I didnt think any type of debt would lead to an arrest, that went away when the old debtors prisons were abolished I thought.

Dang! There’s someone out there with a mid level 6 figure debt.
(It’s not me…) What are the chances…?!

I had a swat team at my door once. It was not fun.
But back to the subject…

Unless I’m reading the article incorrectly, It seems like he may have ignored an order to appear in court over the debt and that’s what led to the arrest.

Yep. I thought it sounded like there was a little more to the story.

According to this article, Aker ignored multiple summons after several attempts to contact him. It also says when Marshals showed up he retreated into his home and said he had a gun. Well, threaten law enforcement and you are lucky that being arrested is the only thing you got.

One would have hoped. As it is, this guy was arrested for $1500 in student loan debt. That’s peanuts compared to the debt levels students are carrying today. I speak from personal experience both my own and friends. Students having over $100,000 in debt today isn’t unusual do to the out of control cost increase of college. And as the costs and associated debt rise, the number of defaults is going to skyrocket as well. Many have said student loans are the next bubble that will burst, and I absolutely believe it will be. And unless they plan on diverting the army to assist these marshalls they’re going to have to find a different way to deal with these debts that’s a little more realistic.

With a country with a 16.3 Trillion dollar debt I guess they have to start somewhere.

Knowing the way the government works, they probably kept sending multiple summons to the address he used to live at 29 years ago and expected him to get them even though he had moved away from there long ago. So it wouldn’t be a surprise if he never got one of those summons.

Yeah, but a SWAT team?
Assuming the procedure is for Marshals to arrest people with outstanding warrants this guys isn’t wanted for bank robbery or kidnapping.

Possibly, then again they actually physically found him, so it’s possible they sent the summons to multiple places including his current address.

Regardless, as soon as the deputy showed up he royally screwed up by retreating and saying he had a weapon. Additional marshals and local police were called in because of that one action.

The original story makes it seem like a warrant was placed and then the Marshals showed up pounding on his door in full riot gear. If Mr Aker had simply spoken to the marshal and appeared in court, he could have resolved the issue with it becoming so dramatic. This is just another example of media biasing that don’t go to the trouble of fully checking or following up on a story.

About five months ago I was outside a home while my daughter was taking her weekly piano lesson. The piano teacher lives in a homey, rural suburb of Salt Lake City.

Several cars (apparently unmarked police cars) pulled up in front of the house. At least five men got out and started putting on bullet proof vests, belts with bullets and were carrying automatic weapons. They cocked their guns as I stood there watching.

What I could not see was that next door were multiple SWAT team officers surrounding the neighbor’s house, all with guns pulled.

We were given permission to “run to our car and leave quickly.”

I told the piano teacher that her next door neighbor must be a very wanted criminal. She said no, he was wanted on identity fraud. She also told me that this was nothing compared to the SWAT raids that took place in the next city over when they used to live there.

I was rattled for days. I felt like I was watching a movie about soldiers going into combat.
They never notified anyone to stay in their homes either and kids were walking down the street right in the middle of the action.

The police have become extremely militaristic, at least where I live.

I feel safer knowing Mr. Aker’s lawless rampage is over.

Dear LORD help us.



And of course the original news story took place in Texas…

I saw this story on NBC Nightly News. The debt owner was interviewed in his very nice and spacious home. I have no sympathy for him. He ignored court orders to appear in court. He chose not to pay back a loan. Check out his house. His Apple Computer cost $1500. I doubt it will take him 30 years to pay for that computer.


Are you saying there are similarities between Utah and Texas? :wink:

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