Action 9

Defendant dodges questions after pleading guilty in $3M debt collection scheme

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Another Charlotte defendant pleaded guilty in the debt collection scheme that federal prosecutors said tricked thousands of people out of $3 million nationwide.

There are six defendants in the case.

Rhonda Scott is the fifth to plead guilty.

She refused to answer questions as she left court Thursday.

She told Action 9 investigator Jason Stoogenke, "Leave me alone."  Otherwise, she didn't say anything, holding up a piece of paper to her face and changing directions.

Federal prosecutors said, and she admitted, she was a supervisor with a fraudulent debt collection company, RJ Financial, which "defrauded thousands of debtors throughout the United States out of more than $3 million."

They said RJ Financial used scare tactics, harassing people and coercing them to pay money, money some didn't even owe.

[RELATED: Action 9 confronts woman who pleaded guilty in $3M debt collection scheme]

Prosecutors said RJ Financial even posed as law enforcement, and played "a police scanner in the background" of some calls.

Both sides agreed that the company and Scott used multiple names, presumably to make it harder for victims to research them.

All five defendants who pleaded guilty still have to go back to court for sentencing.  Most -- like Scott -- face up to 20 years behind bars.

(Click PLAY to watch a confrontation Jason Stoogenke had with another woman who pleaded guilty)

It's not clear how many people will get money back in this case.  Even if the money is still there, it can be hard to prove who gets how much.

This $3 million debt collection scheme is related to a $6 million one Stoogenke followed for about two years.  That company was called Berkeley Hughes and Associates. The owner, Cedric Clark, was sentenced in July to 3 1/2 years behind bars.

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