Ten years after the failure of his debt-buying firm, Commercial Financial Services, and five years after a federal jury found him innocent of 57 counts of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering, Bill Bartmann–entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker–is back in the business. In an exclusive with Collections & Credit Risk, a CardLine sister publication, Bartmann says he is selling seminars priced between $3,000 and $10,000 to teach companies how to buy debt. He also is starting purchasing partnerships with companies that have capital to contribute to the venture. Bartmann would not cite a minimum contribution but, reacting to a ballpark figure of $10,000 plus the cost of the seminars, acknowledged it is unlikely that amount would be enough. Bartmann revolutionized debt buying in the mid-1990s by purchasing bad debt and securitizing pools of charged-off credit card receivables that were sold on Wall Street based on his company's ability to collect. The practice gave Commercial Financial Services access to large amounts of capital, and the company thus signed purchasing agreements with more than half of the nation's 25 largest credit card issuers. In late 1998, an anonymous letter sent to bond rating agencies revealed a shell company called Dimat Corp. had been created to purchase bad loans at inflated prices to make CFS' liquidation rates look better than they were. Commercial Financial closed in June 1999. Bartmann's partner at the company, Jay Jones, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge. He could not be reached for comment. "In hindsight, I wish I had gone through (Jones') garbage can, credenza and computer every night after work," Bartmann tells Collections & Credit Risk. "But I didn't."

Subscribe Now

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the payments industry

14-Day Free Trial

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the industry