US Marshals tell their side of ‘out of control’ student loan arrest story

Screenshot via Fox 26.
Screenshot via Fox 26.

A Houston man was stunned when seven U.S. Marshals arrived at his home with combat weapons to place him under arrest for owing what he said was $1,500 in federal student loans.

The loans were taken out in 1987, and the man, Paul Aker, was told by a judge that the marshals were armed with tactical gear and automatic weapons like they were going to war because he is a registered firearms carrier, Fox 26 reported.

“It’s out of control. Out of control,” Aker told the judge. “What if they had seen a gun on me? They would have shot me for 1,500 bucks.”

Aker told the New York Daily News he couldn’t believe it when he saw the firepower they brought to his home.

“I say, ‘What is this all about?'” he said. “They say, ‘Shut up, you know what this is all about.’ I don’t have a clue.”

But the Marshals told a very different tale.

Aker was sued by the federal government in Nov. 2007 for owing $2,600 in student loans, and when Aker didn’t appear in court, the judge ruled against him and ordered him to pay the entire amount by April 17, 2007, according to court records discovered by Yahoo Finance.

And the Marshals released a statement detailing Aker’s history of missed court appearances and ignored warnings that led to a warrant being issued for his arrest.

According to the statement, Aker resisted arrest which “escalated” the confrontation.

“The situation escalated when Aker verbally said to the deputies that he had a gun. After Aker made the statement that he was armed, in order to protect everyone involved, the deputies requested additional law enforcement assistance,” the statement read. “Additional deputy marshals and local law enforcement officers responded to the scene. After approximately two hours, the law enforcement officers convinced Aker to peacefully exit his home, and he was arrested.”

Still, Aker will be far from the only case of such extreme action being taken over student loan debt.

Congressman Gene Green told Fox 26 that the government is now utilizing a policy of having private debt collectors go after those who have defaulted on student loans.

Because of that, debt collectors are obtaining judgments on the loans in federal court and asking for Marshals to arrest the debtors, according to Fox 26.

U.S. Marshals are still reportedly set to serve between 1,200 and 1,500 warrants due to federal student debt loans.

Watch Aker’s interview with Fox 26 below.


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