John Oliver Gives Away $15 Million, Except Not Really

Lovely segment, but that number is a bit misleading. http://slate.me/1XyiOq0
  1. Recently on “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver attacked the morally corrupt practices of the debt-collection industry.
    His segment investigated the industry’s illegal intimidation tactics and loosely regulated accreditation process.
  2. At the end, Oliver announced that he’d started his own debt-collection agency.
  3. “We called it Central Asset Recovery Professionals, or CARP, after the bottom-feeding fish,” said Oliver.
  4. CARP then purchased $15 million worth of medical debts for “pennies on the dollar”, which entitled them to “start calling people and turning their lives upside down,” according to Oliver.
  5. Instead, Oliver instantly forgave all the debts, which he billed as the “largest one-time giveaway in television history.”
    FYI: Oprah’s car giveaway cost $8 million.
  6. The only catch?
  7. He actually forgave about $60,000 worth of debt.
  8. That’s how much CARP paid for the list of debtors who owed, collectively, that $15 million amount.
  9. But the debts were so old, there was almost no chance of collecting them (because the debtors were deceased, bankrupt, or otherwise incapable of paying).
    In fact, the debts were SO old they were “out-of-statute”, so creditors couldn’t even legally sue anymore.
  10. Still, by snapping up these debts before a less-scrupulous agency got them, Oliver probably saved a bunch of people from nasty phone calls and harassing mail.