Lustig, Glaser & Wilson, Leading Mass. Debt Collection Firm, Settles for $1m for Alleged Widespread Consumer Abuses
The self-proclaimed “leading debt collection law firm in Massachusetts,” Lustig, Glaser & Wilson, has agreed to pay $1 million to settle allegations of unfair and deceptive conduct related to collection of consumer debt in violation of the Consumer Protection Act, Chapter 93A.
The settlement also applies to the owners of Lustig, Glaser & Wilson, attorneys Ronald E. Lustig and Kenneth C. Wilson.
This is the resolution of a lawsuit the Massachusetts Attorney General filed against Lustig, Glaser & Wilson in 2015. The lawsuit alleged that that the law firm routinely sued consumers for debts they did not owe or debts that were inaccurate, and consistently violated state law and abused the court system in their pursuit of debts.
The lawsuit also alleged that the Lustig Glaser & Wilson routinely sued consumers on behalf of “debt buyers” (a type of debt collector) without first obtaining documentation that the debt was owed, filing hundreds – and sometimes thousands – of lawsuits in a single day. Because of this debt-collection assembly line, the firm has sued the wrong person, for the wrong amount, or sued on the basis of debts that were past the statute of limitations.
And, the lawsuit alleged that Lustig, Glaser & Wilson preyed on the vulnerable – the elderly, the disabled, and the poor. Even though Social Security, Social Security Disability, and poverty-level wages are exempt from court-ordered payments, the firm used “false threats of court payments orders as well as civil arrest warrants and court examinations” to “extract” exempt income from consumers. This resulted in the unlawful transfer of millions of dollars from impoverished Massachusetts consumers.
No liability was admitted by Lustig, Glaser & Wilson under the settlement. The firm issued a statement saying that the settlement “acknowledges that there are no findings of liability or wrongdoing on the part of LGW, no finding of harm caused to consumers and it does not impose any penalty on the firm.”
Besides the $1 million payment, Lustig, Glaser & Wilson must also change its collection practices. It will use a new consumer questionnaire to identify whether protected income. It must respond to consumers’ requests for validation of debts even after the 30-day validation period. And it is subject to continuing oversight by the Attorney General.
There are a number of important documents and articles related to the case which Culik Law has compiled for the public:
- Attorney General Complaint Against Lustig, Glaser & Wilson
- Consent Judgment for $1 Million
- Attorney General Press Release: AG Secures $1 Million for Consumers Exploited by Largest Debt Collection Law Firm in Massachusetts
- Article from Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly: Waltham debt-collection firm agrees to pay $1M, change practices (subscription required)
- Article from the Boston Globe: AG Healey announces $1m settlement with debt collector
- Article from the Boston Herald: AG: Massachusetts debt collector to pay $1M in settlement
Culik Law is a Boston, Massachusetts consumer protection law firm. Our attorneys have dealt with most of the largest debt collectors in Massachusetts, as well as most of the major debt-collection law firms. If you think your rights may have been violated, contact us for a case evaluation to see if we can help.