WASHINGTON (WHDH) - The United States Department of Justice reached an agreement Thursday with a Massachusetts storage company for unlawfully auctioning off the possessions of a deployed service member.
PRTaylor Enterprices, LLC, doing business as Father & Son Moving & Storage, violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act by failing to obtain a court order before auctioning off the entire contents of an Air Force technical sergeant’s two storage units while he was deployed overseas, according to the Justice Department.
The technical sergeant’s possessions allegedly sold by the company included military gear and mementos that had belonged to a cousin killed in military action in Afghanistan, his grandfather’s military service medals, all of his household furnishings, and personal photographs.
The SCRA provides financial and housing protections and benefits to military members while they are in military service. One of the SCRA’s protections requires anyone holding a lien on the property of a service member to obtain a court order prior to auctioning off, selling, or disposing of that property.
Under the agreement with the Justice Department, Father & Son must pay the technical sergeant $60,000 in damages and the U.S. a $5,000 civil penalty, in addition to implementing certain new policies to prevent future SCRA violations.
“It is wrong to auction off the possessions of a service member who is serving our country overseas,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell for the District of Massachusetts. “The law protects servicemembers from this kind of mistreatment – they have more important things to worry about when they are overseas risking their lives to protect our nation. We will enforce the rights of our military members aggressively and hold accountable people who violate the SCRA.”
Service members and their dependents who believe that their rights under the SCRA may have been violated are urged to contact the nearest Armed Forces Legal Assistance Program Office.
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