By Laura French
LOWELL, Mass. – A Massachusetts ambulance service will write off a $1.6 million debt for 880 consumers and pay part of a $50,000 restitution settlement after a collection attorney hired by the service allegedly made threats illegal.
Trinity EMS Inc. President John Chemaly says the settlement does not mean the service admits wrongdoing for the reported actions of attorney Robert White, who was obtained by the service through the company’s debt collection Stevens Business Services (SBS), according to The Lowell Sun.
SBS and Trinity will split restitution and have agreed to help repair the credit of those whom White sued on Trinity’s behalf. They plan to reimburse those most affected after White allegedly threatened consumers with jail time for not paying their debts.
“Collectors and their lawyers are not allowed to threaten you with jail if you cannot pay a bill,” said a press release issued by Attorney General Maura Healey, who filed the lawsuit against White in 2017. “For years, this company knew that vulnerable consumers in the Lowell community were being exploited and that it should have stopped it. This settlement will provide relief to those who have been harmed by these illegal practices.
White died in 2018, leaving SBS and Trinity to settle the matter. Prior to his death, White defended his actions, saying his consumer warnings complied with legal process.