Moving company fined for auctioning off military member’s storage unit while serving overseas

BILLERICA, Mass. — A local moving and storage company will pay a United States Air Force Technical Sergeant $60,000 for failing to obtain a court order before auctioning off the contents of his storage unit while he was deployed overseas, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts announced Thursday.

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The possessions sold by Billerica company Father & Son included military gear and mementos that belonged to his cousin, who was killed while serving in Afghanistan, his grandfather’s military service medals and all of his household furnishings and personal photographs.

Under the agreement, Father & Son will pay the Technical Sergeant $60,000 in damages and pay the United States a $5,000 civil penalty, according to the news release.

According to the lawsuit, Father & Son had sent mail indicating the Technical Sergeant owed money to his previous address at Hanscom Air Force Base, but he didn’t get it in Qatar until almost a month after his possessions had been sold.

“It is wrong to auction off the possessions of a servicemember who is serving our country overseas,” Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell said in a news release. “The law protects servicemembers from this kind of mistreatment – they have more important things to worry about when they are overseas risking their lives to protect our nation. We will enforce the rights of our military members aggressively and hold accountable people who violate the SCRA.”