Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Credit Union Sued for Illegally Repossessing Servicemembers' Cars

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Michigan to recover damages from the COPOCO Community Credit Union (Bay City, MI), alleging that the credit union violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) by repossessing protected servicemembers’ motor vehicles without obtaining the necessary court orders.

The complaint alleges that COPOCO’s vehicle repossession procedures did not include any process to determine customers’ military status – such as checking the Department of Defense’s database – prior to conducting repossessions without court orders.

The complaint also alleges that COPOCO illegally repossessed U.S. Army Private First Class Christian Carriveau’s car, along with his two-year-old daughter’s car seat, out of his driveway in Lacey, Washington, near Joint Base Lewis-McChord. His wife, Alyssa Carriveau, initially believed that the car had been stolen, but she subsequently learned that it had been repossessed. Private First Class Carriveau was away at military training at the time and Alyssa Carriveau was not able to get to work without the vehicle.

In addition to monetary damages for affected servicemembers, the SCRA provides for civil monetary penalties of up to $60,000 for the first offense and $120,000 for each subsequent offense. The department will also seek changes in how COPOCO conducts future repossessions.

Read the press release.

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