Soldiers tow company illegal auctions including DOJ colleges deployed in the Navy

A Virginia Beach, Va., towing company has sold, sold, or otherwise disposed of the vehicles and personal property of at least seven U.S. service members, including two Navy SEAL-owned vehicles deployed overseas, according to a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice April 15. .

Government court documents claim that as early as April 2019, Steve’s Towing Inc. A pattern of violating the Civil Service Personnel Relief Act, or SCRA, which guarantees some financial and housing protections for active-duty members, when the company failed to recognize military ownership of multiple vehicles and obtain a court order before it was put to bid.

The Department of Justice is seeking compensation for Navy SEALs and other affected service members in Virginia District Court.

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“The Department of Justice is taking action to ensure that all service members affected by unscrupulous acts receive fair compensation,” Kristen Clark, assistant attorney general for the department’s civil rights division, said in a news release.

This is not the first time that the Ministry of Justice has intervened in a business to sell soldiers’ vehicles in their absence. Towing companies must receive a court order to dispose of property belonging to a service member while they are in the military, or for 90 days after separating, thanks to the SCRA, which was enacted in 2003.

Department of Justice court documents identify an unnamed junior Navy officer of the elite first class SEAL Team 2, based at the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Virginia, who parked his vehicle in a lot opposite HQ while he was deployed overseas from October 2019 roughly to April 2020.

Both his 1992 Toyota Land Cruiser HZJ73—which has a duffel bag of his uniform, plus a Marine Challenge coin—and his 1987 Toyota 4Runner had license plates and registrations from Arizona, the state where his parents lived.

Around January 3, 2020, Steve’s Towing towed the two cars, and about a month later submitted to the Virginia Department of Automobiles for ownership of the property, shortly after purchasing both cars on their own for $500 each.

Although the auto service company contacted Virginia DMV, the state where the cars were collected, it did not do so in Arizona, where the vehicles were already registered.

Friday’s recording came as a “total shocker” for Lee Gilliam, general manager at Steve’s Towing.

“We love our military and would never knowingly auction off an active duty military vehicle,” Gilliam said in an interview.

The case was filed in Virginia’s Eastern District Court, Norfolk County, and a court date has not been set.

The Department of Justice advises service members and dependents who believe their SCRA rights have been violated to reach the nearest Armed Forces Legal Assistance Program office.

As of Monday afternoon, Gilliam said the Steves Twenge papers had not been submitted to court papers, but the company continues to tow the vehicles for Military Police.

Jonathan Lairfield is a Fellow at Military.com. Follow him on Twitter: @lehrfeld_media.

Related: The Ministry of Justice is taking strict measures against withdrawing companies that confiscate the forces’ cars

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