The Attorney General in Massachusetts recently sued one of the most prominent debt collection law firms in the state, along with two of the firm’s owners. The suit alleges that the firm filed repeat lawsuits against customers for unpaid debts or, in some cases, debts that were completely inaccurate. The Attorney General states that the debt collection company was acting in direct violation of the consumer protection laws of the State of Massachusetts with regards to the pursuing of debts and utilizing judicial proceedings.
The complaint, which was filed in the Suffolk Superior Court was officially filed against Lustig, Glaser and Wilson, P.C. and the owners of the firm, Ronald Lustig and Kenneth Wilson. The suit alleges that as far back as 2011, the Lustig Firm filed in excess of 100,000 debt collection lawsuits in the state. Most of these suits seem to have been filed based on unsubstantiated debts and inaccurate data that were owned by national debt buying companies. A good deal of these lawsuits were filed against people who only had social security or other types of income to rely on; forms of income that are legally exempt from any types of payments ordered by the courts. Because of all of this unlawful litigation, since the year 2011, the law firm has obtained judgements against residents of Massachusetts that total up to more than $125 million, while pursuing consumers about the judgments that were handed down.
Attorney General Healey said, “We allege that this firm and its owners took advantage of thousands of Massachusetts consumers by demanding money they had no right to collect and on the basis of debts they could not prove. The company used the judicial system to intimidate and harass people, and we are working hard to make sure that this kind of conduct ends and that the company and its owners are held accountable.”
To keep their practice going, the Lustig Firm is alleged to have relied on basic computer spreadsheets that were given to them by national debt buying companies. These spreadsheets allowed the firm to process thousands of accounts for collection actions and litigation in just a single day’s time. The firm persisted in using the spreadsheets, even with the knowledge that the data contained within them was usually incomplete or not reliable.
Official allegations from the suit against the Lustig Firm include:
The Collection of Exempt Income – The firm made threats against consumers who possessed exempt income, like disability benefits, public assistance and social security.
Collecting on Unsubstantiated or Inaccurate Debts – The Lustig Firm made demands for payments on older debts without any substantial proof that the consumer actually owed on these debts.
Filing Deceptive Lawsuits – The firm used statements provided by debt purchasers as proof in the lawsuits that they filed, even though they knew the statements were put together without any meaningful documentation or foreknowledge of the case.
These charges represent just the tip of the iceberg in this case, and the Attorney General seems to have a solid case against this debt collecting lawsuit. In addition to the AG and members of the office’s staff, the case is being handled by other legal analysts and members for the Consumer Protection Division. For all of the legal knowledge that these attorneys surely possess, they seem to have forgotten about just how easy it is for the wheels of justice to catch up with perpetrators sooner rather than later. It’s safe to say that this case will be making headlines in Massachusetts for some time to come now.
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