BOSTON (WWLP) – A tow company accused of refusing to allow a military member deployed overseas to pay fees has reached an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to resolve allegations of violating the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).
According to the Department of Justice in Boston, Todisco Towing failed to obtain a court order before enforcing a lien on a vehicle owned by a U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant who was deployed overseas.
The complaint alleges that Todisco Towing impounded the Staff Sergeant’s vehicle, refused to allow him to pay the towing and storage fee by phone, and ultimately sold the vehicle and its contents, which included costly military tactical gear and several irreplaceable items of sentimental value, including a family photograph album and a sweatshirt belonging to a friend who is now deceased.
Under the SCRA, it protects anyone holding a lien on the property of a servicemember to obtain a court order prior to auctioning off, selling, or otherwise disposing of that property. A search can be conducted on the Department of Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) website, to determine whether an individual is a protected servicemember.
The agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office states that Todisco Towing must pay the Staff Sergeant $5,000 in damages and the United States a $1,000 civil penalty. The company has created new policies and training to prevent future SCRA violations.
“While he was serving our country overseas and protecting our national security, this servicemember had his car and items of deep personal significance sold off by Todisco despite his efforts to pay the outstanding fees. This is shameful treatment of people serving our nation as part of the armed forces,” said Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is strongly committed to enforcing the rights of the members of our military who sacrifice so much for all of us to enjoy freedom and security every day.”
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