Federal Government Garnishment and Debt Collection

Jon Alper Creditor Rights

One of my clients was sued by the Federal Trade Commission for a violation of their rules. The FTC obtained a large monetary judgment.  There is a federal statute permitting the U.S. government to garnish wages and bank accounts. The federal garnishment statute provides less debtor protections than Florida’s garnishment laws.  For instance, the government may garnish 15% of wages to collect student loans. The client  wanted to know if the FTC powers to garnish his accounts and wages falls  under the federal garnishment statute or Florida garnishment statutes.

The federal garnishment laws apply to collection of judgments owed the the U.S. government. Examples are tax debts or education debt owed to the Department of Education. The FTC and most other administrative agencies are independent agencies. Debts owed to independent government agencies are not the same as debts owed to the U.S. government. Therefore, I believe that state garnishment law, procedure, and exemptions apply to the collection of the FTC’s money judgment.

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