BY MARK HERZ | JULY 28, 2017
Massachusetts’ largest debt collection law firm — Lustig, Glaser & Wilson — will pay $1 million in restitution to state Attorney General Maura Healey’s office in a settlement over the company’s tough tactics.
Healey says Lustig abused the court system, clogging it with over 200,000 lawsuits against thousands of Massachusetts residents for debts, many of which were incorrect or not owed at all.
Alberta Silva is just one of many examples of someone that Healey says was subjected to intimidation. Silva says Lustig kept trying to get her to sign a judgment admitting she owed money.
“They pulled me into court four times,” Silva said, “and each time they would wave that judgment in front of my face and say, ‘If you want your suffering to stop, just sign this.'”
Ron Grenier is the parent of an adult son with a mental impairment. He says Lustig knew his son’s social security disability checks were exempt from debt collection in the state — and still, they pressed Grenier’s son for payments.
“For someone who is mentally challenged,” Grenier said, “the threat of being dragged into court is overwhelming, terrifying, and impossible to manage.”
Lustig has agreed to make significant changes to its debt collection practices. Among the changes, the firm has agreed to stop misusing lawsuits, and to leave people alone whose income is exempt from collection.
In a statement, the company said it cooperated fully with the attorney general’s office, and that the agreement includes no findings of wrongdoing or harm to consumers.
Healey’s office says the $1 million in settlement money will be distributed to those the attorney general claims were harmed by Lustig.
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