Department of Education SWAT team raids Stockton Ca. home for unpaid student loan (Not a joke)
I have learned some very important things today, lizards.
3. Failure of you or your spouse to pay on your student loans is now a federal crime that can result in a heavily armed team of federal agents busting down your door and pointing automatic weapons at you and your children.
4. This is not something from the Onion.
STOCKTON, CA - Kenneth Wright does not have a criminal record and he had no reason to believe a S.W.A.T team would be breaking down his door at 6 a.m. on Tuesday.
“I look out of my window and I see 15 police officers,” Wright said.
Wright came downstairs in his boxer shorts as the officers team barged through his front door. Wright said an officer grabbed him by the neck and led him outside on his front lawn.
“He had his knee on my back and I had no idea why they were there,” Wright said.
According to Wright, officers also woke his three young children ages 3, 7, and 11, and put them in a Stockton police patrol car with him. Officers then searched his house.
As it turned out, the person law enforcement was looking for was not there - Wright’s estranged wife.
“They put me in handcuffs in that hot patrol car for six hours, traumatizing my kids,” Wright said.
Wright said he later went to the mayor and Stockton Police Department, but the city of Stockton had nothing to do with Wright’s search warrant.
The U.S. Department of Education issued the search and called in S.W.A.T for his wife’s defaulted student loans.
“They busted down my door for this,” Wright said. “It wasn’t even me.”
According to the Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General, the case can’t be discussed publicly until it is closed, but a representative confirmed the department did issue the search warrant at Wright’s home.
Wednesday morning, inspector general spokeswoman Gina Burress provided the following statement:
“The Office of Inspector General does not engage in the collection of student loans. Our mission is to conduct criminal investigations related to the programs and operations of the U.S. Department of Education, which include the student financial aid programs. We can confirm that we executed a search warrant at the residence, however our policy is not to discuss details of our on-going work.”
The Office of the Inspector General has a law enforcement branch of federal agents that carry out search warrants and investigations.
The Stockton Police Department said it was asked by federal agents to provide one officer and one patrol car just for a police presence when carrying out the search warrant.
Police officers did not participate in breaking Wright’s door, handcuffing him, or searching his home.
“All I want is an apology for me and my kids and for them to get me a new door,” Wright said.
Some interesting and terrifying information from link number two above:
Student loans have become the largest consumer debt for Americans outside of mortgages. They passed credit card debt in 2009-2010, and their stigma to consumers is much harsher since they cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.
However, this stigma may pale in comparison to a new event taking place, and that is the ability of the Department of Education to issue arrest warrants for people who default on these loans.
A number of people at various forums have noted that there does not appear to be any sign off from a judge. The department simply ordered the warrant by its own volition.
We heard talk this last year about bringing back the 18th Century concept of debtors prisons. Now we can get the 21st Century version, complete with MP-5 submachineguns and federal agents in black body armor giving you door to door service.