We did away with debtors prisons a long time ago. Just because you can't pay a debt doesn't mean you've broken any law. As long as you have not knowingly written a bad check for the payments, you haven't broken any law. If this attorney is threatening you with jail, then he has violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and he is liable for damages to you. You need to contact a lawyer who does FDCPA work to discuss this. It is possible that if there are violations of the FDCPA your debt could be forgiven, you could receive up to $1000 in statutory damages, and your lawyer's fees could be paid by the debt collector.
This response is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.
This is a common scam, especially when the underlying debt is a payday loan. Some quick research on the internet will confirm this. The more outrageous the debt, the less likely it will come to fruition. Legitimate debt collectors have no need for this type of conduct.
However bankruptcy may give you a fresh start if you are overwhelmed by debt.
You can find attorneys using the find a lawyer tab or the link below.
I am not your attorney unless you and I have signed a retainer agreement. What I am saying is not legal advice. Do not act on this information without engaging my services, this is for consideration only.
NO, you cannot be sent to jail for failure to pay a debt. Now if you used fraudulent information to obtain a loan, that could be a violation of federal law; but just the inability to pay back the loan will not send you to jail.
Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship. I provide this service for educational purposes only. I will take no action on your behalf unless you have hired me and a written retainer agreement is signed. I am licensed only in Tennessee and I strongly suggest you consult with an attorney in your city and state as Statute of Limitation deadlines can limit your recovery.
Writing a check to a payday loan shark does not meet the definition of "worthless check" in Tennessee so it is not a crime. The loan shark knew it was a bad check when you wrote it. The facts you described is a very common scam though. Do not give them your bank account under any circumstance. They are trying to scare you into providing your bank account information.