Failing to Pay Student Loans Can Indirectly Lead Up To an Arrest

By Staff Writer

Feb 23, 2016 06:58 AM EST

Typically, someone wouldn't get arrested for simply failing to pay a student loan. However, a current case of an arrest of a Houston man by the name Paul Aker proved that failing to make student loan payments may lead deputy US Marshals to show up on someone's door with guns and make an arrest.

According to Business Insider, Aker received over a $1,500 federal student loan in 1987, nearly 30 years ago. His arrest occurred last week, whereas seven armed deputy US Marshals were involved. The case went viral, creating panic, as well as drawing shock and outrage across the country.

Failing to pay a federal student loan is ruled as a civil case. And, unlike a criminal case, a civil one usually can't make someone go to jail. However, that happened to Aker under one circumstance, when he failed to show up after he was summoned to the court regarding the case.

Oregonlive explained how the arrest happened. The government filed a federal suit against Aker after The Department of Education failed to collect the man's debt. The Department of Education then handed the uncollected debts to the Department of Justice, which in turn could contract with a private lawyer to sue a loanee for the debt. In Aker's case, the private lawyer filing the suit was Butch Cersonsky, as Houston lawyer contracted by the authorities. 

The federal suit against Aker was filed by Cersonsky ten years ago in 2006. When Aker didn't show up to contest the case, the federal court issued a default judgement against him. Then the federal government asked the court to order Aker to show up. When he didn't the court can issue a warrant for his arrest for ignoring a court order. Usually, arresting someone for not showing up in court happened in criminal suits, but the court can actually do that for a civil suit either.

According to Ventura County Star, the federal authorities had made several attempts to contact Aker to appear with notices and phone calls, but he refused. The warrant was made after he failed to appear in court at a December 2012 hearing.And usually, it wouldn't involve as many as seven deputy US Marshals to arrest someone for failing to meet a court order. Aker's case was rather individual regarding this. When two deputies first show up with a warrant, he told them that he had a gun. The statement spurred the Marshals to call for back-up, said the US Marshals in a statement.

The U.S have more than $1.3 trillion unpaid student loans, and the authorities are beginning to increase the efforts to collect the outstanding amount of money. Even so, the fact remains that someone can't get arrested for simply failing to make student loan debt payment, but anyone can be arrested if they ignore a court order to show up regarding the loan, or regarding anything. 

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