Justice Department Sues Virginia Towing Company for Illegal Auction of Military Vehicles | Takeover bid

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The Department of Justice today filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia alleging that Steve’s Towing Inc. in Virginia Beach, Va., violated the Civil Assistance Act. (SCRA) by failing to obtain court orders before auctioning off vehicles belonging to at least seven SCRA-protected service members, including two vehicles belonging to a member of a Navy Seal team deployed overseas. The SCRA, which provides a variety of financial and housing protections to military personnel, prohibits towing companies from auctioning military vehicles without a court order.

Federal law requires towing companies to determine if a vehicle in their possession belongs to a military member. The complaint alleges that several facts should have alerted Steve’s Towing that the Navy Seal vehicles belonged to a military member, including that the vehicles had been towed from a military base and that one contained a duffel bag full of uniforms. military.

“Blatant disregard for a law designed to protect the rights of those in military service will not be tolerated,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice is taking steps to ensure that all service members harmed by unscrupulous actions receive just compensation. We must end illegal business practices that cause harm and distress to those who selflessly serve in our armed forces.

In addition to seeking damages for the Navy Seal and other service members involved, the Justice Department is seeking a court order restraining Steve’s Towing from illegally auctioning the service members’ vehicles in the future. The lawsuit also seeks a civil penalty.

This lawsuit is the result of a coordinated effort between the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. The complaint only contains allegations; there was no determination of civil liability.

Service members and dependents who believe their SCRA rights have been violated should contact the nearest Armed Forces Legal Assistance Program office. Offices can be found at http://legalassistance.law.af.mil/. The department’s enforcement of the SCRA is conducted by the Civil Rights Division’s Housing and Civil Enforcement Section and U.S. Attorney’s Offices nationwide. Since 2011, the department has secured more than $476 million in monetary relief for more than 121,000 service members through its SCRA application. Additional information about the Department of Justice’s enforcement of the SCRA and other laws protecting military personnel is available at www.servicemembers.gov.


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