Mass. EMS will cancel $1.6 million in debt after consumers allegedly threatened by attorney
The ambulance service will also pay part of a $50,000 restitution settlement without admitting fault for the alleged threats
By Laura French
LOWELL, Mass. — An ambulance service in Massachusetts will cancel $1.6 million in debt for 880 consumers and pay part of a $50,000 restitution settlement after a collection attorney hired by the service allegedly made illegal threats.
Trinity EMS Inc. President John Chemaly says the settlement does not mean the service is admitting fault for the reported actions of Attorney Robert White, who was obtained by the service through debt collection firm Stevens Business Services (SBS), according to The Lowell Sun.
SBS and Trinity will split the restitution and have agreed to help repair the credit of those whom White had sued on Trinity’s behalf. They plan to repay those most affected after White reportedly threatened consumers will jail time for not paying their debts.
“Debt collectors and their attorneys aren’t allowed to threaten you with jail time if you can’t pay a bill,” stated a press release issued by Attorney General Maura Healey, who brought the lawsuit against White in 2017. “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.”
White passed away in 2018, leaving SBS and Trinity to settle the matter. Prior to his passing, White defended his actions, saying his warnings to consumers were in line with court procedures.