US Marshals Arrest of Houston Man for $1,500 Student Loan Has Conflicting Stories
On February 11, U.S. Marshals forcibly arrested Houston resident Paul Aker over a student loan unpaid for 29 years, initially for $1,500. According to Congressman Gene Green, the federal government is asking the U.S. Marshals Service to arrest those who have failed to pay federal student loans. They served an estimated 1,500 warrants locally.
Aker was shackled by the wrists and waist and was transported to a judge where he had to sign a document saying he will pay back roughly $7,000, which includes interest, penalties and expenses related to his arrest.
According to U.S. Marshals Service, Houston Chron reports, Aker was dodging summons to court for years and when two deputies came to pick him up, resisted arrest as Aker claimed he had a gun after running inside his home. Deputies left the scene and came back with local law enforcement for backup.
Aker, on the other hand, told TIME that the two deputies did not identify themselves as such - in fact one of them was dressed in disguise as a utility worker. Aker said he thought he was about to be robbed, so he ran inside and warned them he had a firearm. The deputies returned with backup and after the 48-year-old freelance audio engineer took a peek out of his window to see officers, he removed ammo from his firearm and came out with his hands up.
There is now a debate on whether this tactic to retrieve student loan debt is a waste of government resources. Not to mention the legitimacy of multiple warnings given before armed U.S. Marshals knock on your door to collect.