A 100% disabled Army veteran and his wife say a Minnesota-based law firm and debt collection agency has illegally garnished their savings to cover a defaulted student loan and verbally abused them when they asked for their money back.
Michael Collier was declared 100% disabled after suffering spine and head injuries during his time in the Army. His disability entitled him to Social Security payments exempt from debt garnishment.
But that didn't stop Gurstel Chargo from seizing funds from the savings account of Kim Collier, Michael's wife, to pay off a $6,000 defaulted student loan.
At a court hearing back in May, a judge ordered Kim's credit union to unfreeze her assets effective immediately after definitively declaring that her account was exempt from garnishment. But a Gurstel attorney allegedly told Collier afterwards that he would need to sue the collection agency "to get his money back."
Trying to sort the matter over the phone instead, Collier claims he was treated to a barrage of obscenities and insults from an unidentified paralegal.
According to court documents, "the assistant told Michael, 'Fuck you! Pay us your money! You can't afford an attorney. You owe us. I hope your wife divorces your ass. If you would have served our country better you would not be a disabled veteran living off social security while the rest of us honest Americans work our ass off. Too bad; you should have died."
A lawsuit subsequently filed by the Colliers demands a variety of damages from Gurstel for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which very clearly prohibits the employment of harassment or abuse in the collection of a debt.
[photo via Shutterstock]