US Marshals Forcefully Arrest Man Over $1,500 in Student Loan Debt

February 16, 2016   |   Carey Wedler

Carey Wedler
February 16, 2016

(ANTIMEDIA) Houston, Texas — A Houston man was arrested last Thursday over outstanding federal student loan debt left over from nearly three decades ago. Though he owed only $1,500, seven U.S. Marshals wearing combat gear and wielding automatic weapons aggressively arrested him — and authorities have said they will serve many more arrest warrants for outstanding educational bills in the near future.

“They grabbed me, they threw me down, 48-year-old Paul Aker told the New York Daily News on Tuesday.“Local PD is just standing there.

Aker obtained the loan to attend Prairie View A&M University in 1987, and was unaware that he still owed the government money. He says he received no prior notification before the arrest was made, but on Thursday morning, saw a suspicious truck parked outside his home. Aker says when someone approached him, he ran into his residence. Later that morning, the U.S. Marshals approached, initially refusing to tell him why they were there.

“I say, ‘What is this all about?’” Aker told the Daily News. “They say, ‘Shut up, you know what this is all about.’ I don’t have a clue.” He says that when he continued to ask questions, he was told, “you know what this is all about.

Eventually, the Marshals informed him their visit was a result of his 30-year-old debt. “You could have sent me a letter. You could have called me,” Aker reportedly said.

He says he was ordered into the back of a truck and taken to a cell at a federal facility in downtown Houston. He was later taken to court, where he dealt with a judge, a county clerk, and a prosecutor, and says he was never read his rights. Further, Aker says the prosecutor actually turned out to be a collections lawyer. According to his account, the judge felt obliged to teach him a lesson.

“Then I get a lecture (from the judge) about the United States and stealing from the government, he recounted. He was ordered to pay $5,700, including interest, for the original $1,500 loan. If he does not pay by March 1, he will be arrested again. He is also ordered to pay for the cost of his own arrest.

Following publication of this story, U.S. Marshals disputed Aker’s account. According to the Houston Chronicle:

“‘Since November 2012, U.S. Marshals had made several attempts to serve a show cause order to Paul Aker to appear in federal court, including searching at numerous known addresses. Marshals spoke with Aker by phone and requested he appear in court, but Aker refused. A federal judge then issued a warrant for Aker’s arrest for failing to appear at a Dec. 14, 2012, hearing,’ the agency said in a statement Tuesday.

The Marshals’ statement continued:

The situation escalated when Aker verbally said to the deputies that he had a gun. After Aker made the statement that he was armed, in order to protect everyone involved, the deputies requested additional law enforcement assistance. Additional deputy marshals and local law enforcement officers responded to the scene. After approximately two hours, the law enforcement officers convinced Aker to peacefully exit his home, and he was arrested without further incident.

Regardless, it is newly-acquired or decades-old, student loan debt has been a pressing issue in the United States for years. As the costs of college have soared, graduates have been dismayed to find few job opportunities, and therefore, left with few resources to repay their loans. Student loan debt in America totals over $1 trillion, surpassing credit card debt and prompting politicians, including President Obama, to propose countless solutions. The average student loan debt sum for 2015 college graduates is over $35,000.

According to local news Fox 26, U.S. Marshals intend to serve between 1,200 and 1,500 more arrest warrants to individuals who have not repaid their debt. Texas Representative Gene Green, a Democrat, told Fox the crackdown is a result of the government’s recent decision to hire private debt collectors to resolve borrowers’ outstanding fees. These collectors “are getting judgements in federal court and asking judges to use the US Marshals Service to arrest those who have failed to pay their federal student loans.

While it is not unreasonable to assume a borrower will eventually pay back funds, it is questionable whether authorities really needed the show of force they used against Aker, whether or not he received prior notification of his bills. Americans are increasingly skeptical of heavily-armed law enforcement officers, whether they are policing protests or waging narcotics raids. That this warrior mentality is apparently now being applied to debtors over relatively small sums of cash provides further cause for concern.

“There’s bound to be a better way to collect on a student loan debt that is so old, Green observed.

Aker expressed anxiety over the way he was notified of his obligations.“I am still shaken, Aker told the Daily News. “I had to go to work yesterday, and it was hard to drive to work, for the fear of someone coming. I am looking out the window and I have things to do today, and I am still afraid to go outside.”

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include statements from the U.S. Marshals that dispute Aker’s version of events.


This article (US Marshals Forcefully Arrest Man Over $1,500 in Student Loan Debt) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Carey Wedler and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article at edits@theantimedia.org.

Author: Carey Wedler

Carey Wedler joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in September of 2014. Her topics of interest include the police and warfare states, the Drug War, the relevance of history to current problems and solutions, and positive developments that drive humanity forward. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California, where she was born and raised.

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16 Comments

  1. UNFORTUNATLEY THIS IS NOT A "FAKE STORY" IT IS HAPPENING ACCROSS THE COUNTRY MORE AND MORE… ESPECIALLY WITH THEM PREDITORY PAYDAY LOAD SHARKS…. sorry caps…

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  2. Well I certainly hope this is not true, although wouldn't be completely suprised. That said…… No name of Judge, no prosecuter, no credible way to validate this story.

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  3. Patrick James Borush No one knows if this is right or not. It is believed the small amount is not worth to do. How about if the debt is higher? If a person own me a hundred grand, then, I shall hire something like what the pasage said if the rate is lawfully set.

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  4. They loaned billions to young future generation………. Your Government + the Banks did a nasty deal and made the debt legally impossible to write off or declare bankruptcy.
    No other debt has this inhuman obligation attached to it.
    Now you have people with guns coming to get those without guns whobare unable to pay their loans back.
    Anyone going to get off their arse and actually rally against the banks + Government???
    No? – Sadly I thought not.

    Post a Reply
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    I q­ui­­­t wo­­­rk­­­­ing m­­­y de­­s­k jo­­­b an­­d n­­o­w, I st­­­art­­­e­d e­­arn­­­in­­g 9­­5 b­­­­­­uck­­­­­­s ho­­­­ur­­­­­l­y…H­­­­o­w I d­i­d i­­­­­­t? I a­­m f­reelan­­­­­cing o­v­­­­­­­er t­h­­­­­e i­n­t­­­­­­­­­­­­ernet! M­­­y la­­­s­t jo­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­b d­id­­­n't e­­­­­xact­­­­­ly m­­­­­­­­ak­­­­­­e m­­­­­­­­e ha­­­­­­­­­pp­­­­­­y s­­­­­­­­­o I w­­­­­an­t­e­­­­­­d t­­­­­o t­­­­­­­­ak­e a b­­r­e­ak a­­­­nd h­­­av­­­e a f­­­re­­sh s­­tar­­t… A­­­­f­t­e­r 6 y­­­r­s I­t w­­­­as we­­­­­i­rd fo­­r m­e t­o le­­­­­ave m­­y p­­re­­­vi­­­ous j­­­­ob a­n­­­­­d n­­­­­­ow I a­m del­­­igh­ted we­­­r­e i am

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  6. HOW I GOT MY LOAN FROM THIS GREAT COMPANY

    Hello my dear people , I am Anita Frank, currently living in New jersey city, USA. I am a widow at the moment with three kids and i was stuck in a financial situation in April 2015 and i needed to refinance and pay my bills. I tried seeking loans from various loan firms both private and corporate but never with success, and most banks declined my credit ,do not full prey to those hoodlums at there that call them self money lender they are all scam , all they want is your money and you well not hear from them again they have done it to me twice before I met Mr. Wilson Edwards the most interesting part of it is that my loan was transfer to me within 74hours so I will advice you to contact Mr. Edwards if you are interested in getting loan and you are sure you can pay him back on time you can contact him via email……… (wilsonedwardsloancompany@gmail.com) No credit check, no co signer with just 2% interest rate

    Post a Reply
  7. off the grid, prepers, 'tree-huggers', soverign citizens, the militia, and my favorite #Anonymous all ppl not on their arse and rallying against the Banks and the govt. My question is why soo many ppl are waiting around for someone else to do it for them?

    Post a Reply
  8. oh they're illegal huh lmao, yet ppl are imprisioned all the time for debt owed to the IRS. Debt is an illuision that ppl choose to let control them. Money is not real, it's the resources that you buy that are real. Control the resources, you control the world. Half of the crap we buy is useless frivilous junk anyways. I have loads of debt, that credit score means nothing to me, let them come with guns to try and jail me lol certainly aren't going to get your money back with me behind bars hahaha

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  9. Kin Hei Chu the lenders are private there is no such thing as a lawful rate on interest but most Judges will not grant granishments while interest is being calculated with the exception of student loans which are also the ONLY debt you can't declare bankruptcy on

    Post a Reply
  10. HOW I GOT MY LOAN FROM THIS GREAT COMPANY

    Hello my dear people , I am Anita Frank, currently living in New jersey city, USA. I am a widow at the moment with three kids and i was stuck in a financial situation in April 2015 and i needed to refinance and pay my bills. I tried seeking loans from various loan firms both private and corporate but never with success, and most banks declined my credit ,do not full prey to those hoodlums at there that call them self money lender they are all scam , all they want is your money and you well not hear from them again they have done it to me twice before I met Mr. Wilson Edwards the most interesting part of it is that my loan was transfer to me within 74hours so I will advice you to contact Mr. Edwards if you are interested in getting loan and you are sure you can pay him back on time you can contact him via email……… (wilsonedwardsloancompany@gmail.com) No credit check, no co signer with just 2% interest rate

    Post a Reply

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