In CA, being false accused of a crime (like selling drugs) and infidelity is "slander per se" meaning you don't have to prove special damages because those damages are presumed. It may be the same in IA. So if you've suffered damages and the slanderer has money, I agree this sounds like a meritorious case. The debt collection violation is worth very little, so I'm not sure I'd bother with that.
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Accusing you of a crime is slander per se and it seems you may have a case. Pursue the matter with the attorney you have already spoken to or find another soon. You may only have one year from the first time they started to talk about you.
You have an excellent 'slander per se' case. This was not merely gossip. This was deliberate behavior that embarassed you and caused you monetary damages and emotional distress. I concur with your attorney that you have a very good slander case. I also agree that the fair credit act violation is 'small potatoes' compared to the tort case. Best of Luck on this case.