The Massachusetts Attorney General announced on March 12, 2020 that Trinity EMS Inc. (“Trinity”), an ambulance company located in Lowell, Massachusetts, has agreed to cancel nearly $1.6 million in ambulance debts for nearly 880 consumers who were threatened by a debt collection attorney whose services Trinity obtained through Stevens Business Services (“SBS”), a debt collection firm. Trinity and SBS have also agreed to help repair the credit of all consumers sued by the debt collection attorney on Trinity’s behalf and repay those most affected by the attorney’s misconduct.
Trinity also agreed to provide $50,000 in restitution to resolve allegations that its attorney illegally threatened consumers with arrest and imprisonment.
The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office began its investigation after learning that the debt collection attorney’s practices routinely included threatening vulnerable consumers with arrest or imprisonment if they failed to pay ambulance bills owed to Trinity. The AG’s investigation showed that many of the consumers Trinity’s attorney threatened were vulnerable, low-income, dealing with major medical issues, and spoke English as a second language. During the AG’s investigation, both Trinity and SBS acknowledged they were aware of the attorney’s misconduct but continued to benefit from his services for years.
Under the terms of the settlement, Trinity and SBS have agreed to identify consumers sued by the debt collection attorney on Trinity’s behalf and all resulting judgments, forgive and stop collecting any debt alleged to be owed based on the resulting judgments, disclaim the right to sell or transfer the debts to another debt collector, inform affected consumers they no longer have to pay outstanding debts, and report these debts as satisfied to credit reporting agencies. Trinity and SBS will also submit an annual report on their compliance with the debt collection laws to the AG’s Office for a period of three years.
The Massachusetts Attorney General stated in reference to the settlement, “Debt collectors and their attorneys aren’t allowed to threaten you with jail time if you can’t pay a bill. For years, this company knew that vulnerable consumers in the Lowell community were being taken advantage of and they should have put an end to it. This settlement will provide relief to those who were harmed by these illegal practices.”
The Massachusetts Attorney General had sued the debt collection attorney regarding the underlying allegations in 2017, but the attorney died before the case reached final judgment. The settlement with Trinity and SBS resolves allegations against the two companies in connection with the attorney’s misconduct.
If you or a family member were injured due to the medical negligence of a paramedic in Massachusetts or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney, or a medical malpractice attorney in your state, who may investigate your possible paramedic negligence claim for you, and represent you or your family member in a paramedic malpractice case, if appropriate.
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