In the last few days, a lot of attention has been given to a story about a man in Texas arrested by U.S. Marshals because he did not make his student loan payments, or was in default. The story originated out of the Fox 26 station in Houston. The problem is, the story is not true. Yes, Paul Aker was in default and, yes, he was arrested by U.S. Marshalls. What the reporter chose to leave out of the story were a few other details that were freely available online on the Court docket. After Aker failed to respond to a lawsuit, a judgment was entered. After attempts were made to get him to show up to a post-judgment deposition, the Court entered two orders compelling him to appear or face possible arrest. This is common for the failure to comply with post-judgment discovery or respond to Court orders. When Aker still did not respond or appear, the Marshals went to his house to serve the warrant (which is one of their responsibilities). According to the Marshals, Aker then said he had a gun and the Marshals on site called for additional help. Aker apparently admits he mentioned getting his gun, using the excuse that he did not know who was at his door (although Marshals are generally in a uniform or jacket, and identify themselves). He apparently then found a gullible and dishonest reporter who was more than happy to submit the false story that he was arrested for not paying his student loans and the story then was picked up by others who also failed to consider the actual facts available to everyone online.
No, you do not get arrested for getting behind on your student loans. You will get arrested for ignoring Court orders, usually after at least a couple of very clear warnings. It does not matter if it is a student loan debt or any other debt. If the U.S. Marshals or any other law enforcement agencies knock on your door and you tell them about your gun, you can expect they will call for additional officers for the protection of themselves and the community. For a few more details of this story, see the post on the Georgia Bankruptcy Blog.