BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A New York debt collector faces criminal charges after being accused of misrepresenting herself as a lawyer and using other illegal tactics while targeting military personnel.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office said Stephanie Lowinger of Buffalo was charged with felony scheme to defraud and could face up to four years in prison. A civil suit, meanwhile, seeks to shut her businesses down and secure restitution.

Lowinger was the latest in a number of debt collectors caught in the attorney general’s office’s crackdown on the industry.

She couldn’t be reached for comment yesterday. Telephone listings were disconnected.

Investigators said Lowinger harassed commanding officers and family members of military personnel trying to collect on old or nonexistent debts.

(Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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