John Oliver Buys $15 Million In Medical Debt, Then Forgives It
June 6, 2016
On Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver took a look at the messy, shady world of debt collection and debt buying.
Debt buyers purchase debt from creditors and other debt buyers. And apparently it’s so easy to buy debt, you can do it legally without a license.
For a $50 fee, Oliver and his team registered their new debt-acquisition firm, Central Asset Recovery Professionals — CARP, named after the bottom-feeding fish — in Mississippi, complete with a website that was nothing more than a logo.
“With little more to go on than that website,” says Oliver, “we were soon offered a portfolio of nearly $15 million of out-of-statute medical debt from Texas.”
The asking price was less than $60,000 for $14,922,261.76 in debt — or around $.004 for every dollar of debt owed. Purchasing the debt would give CARP the names, current addresses, Social Security numbers, and amount owed for nearly 9,000 individuals.
But rather than try to collect on the debt, Oliver decided to stage the “largest one-time giveaway in television history,” forgiving $15 million in medical debt.
Watch the episode below: