BILLERICA — Father & Son Moving & Storage will pay $60,000 to an Air Force technical sergeant after auctioning off personal possessions in two storage units while he was deployed.
The federal Department of Justice sued the Billerica based company, also known as PRTaylor Enterprises LLC, last year. Authorities said the company sold the belongings without a court order and by doing so, they had violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
Included in the two storage units were military gear and mementos belonging to a cousin that died in action in Afghanistan, his grandfather’s military service medals and all of his household furnishings and personal photographs.
“It is wrong to auction off the possessions of a servicemember who is serving our country overseas,” acting United States Attorney Nathaniel Mendell said in a statement. “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.”
Prosecutors said the sergeant was in uniform when employees from Father & Son packed up his belongings at Hanscom Air Force Base. He also informed them he was in the military.
Under the settlement which was announced on Thursday, Father & Son will pay $60,000 in damages to the technical sergeant. They will also pay a $5,000 civil penalty to the federal government. Additionally, the company must enact new policies to prevent future SCRA violations.
It’s not the first time the company has been in trouble with law enforcement.
The Sun reported a similar incident from the business in 2013, but since that problem, the company returned to old habits, according to Attorney General Maura Healey.
In a complaint for civil contempt brought by her office in Suffolk County Superior Court, the company allegedly has violated the terms of the 2013 consent judgment — which “permanently restrained” the defendants from engaging in a bait-and-switch scheme.
At the time, Brian Taylor, owner and president, said that Father and Son “strenuously denies” the allegations.
“As evidenced by our ‘A’ rating with the Better Business Bureau, Father & Sons remains committed to providing the highest level of service to our thousands of customers,” he wrote in a statement.