In Court, Trinity EMS Agrees to Stop Certain Debt Collection Practices and Pay $50K Restitution

Trinity EMS personnel stand prepared if needed during a 2019 potential hazardous material exposure following a fire at Thermo-Fisher in Ward Hill. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. (Courtesy photograph.)

Haverhill’s ambulance provider has agreed to stop certain debt collection efforts and pay $50,000 to settle claims it illegally threatened consumers with arrest.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said Lowell-based Trinity EMS agreed this week in Suffolk Superior Court to cancel nearly $1.6 million in debt collections and pay $50,000 in restitution.

The issue surrounds ambulance debts for nearly 880 consumers who were threatened by debt collection attorney Robert White. Healey said Trinity obtained the outside collections help through Stevens Business Services of Lowell. Trinity and Stevens also agreed to help repair the credit of all consumers sued by White on Trinity’s behalf and must repay those most affected by White’s misconduct.

“Debt collectors and their attorneys aren’t allowed to threaten you with jail time if you can’t pay a bill,” said Healey. “For years, this company knew that vulnerable consumers in the Lowell community were being taken advantage of and they should have put an end to it. This settlement will provide relief to those who were harmed by these illegal practices.”

The attorney general’s office began its investigation after learning that White’s practices routinely included threatening vulnerable consumers with arrest or imprisonment if they failed to pay ambulance bills owed to Trinity. According to Healey’s office, the investigation showed that many of the consumers White threatened were vulnerable, low-income, dealing with major medical issues and spoke English as a second language. She said both Trinity and Stevens knew of White’s misconduct but continued to benefit from his services for years.

While the Healey’s office sued White in 2017, the lawyer passed away before the case reached final judgment.

Consumers eligible for restitution will be contacted by the attorney general’s office by mail. A hotline may also be reached by calling 617-963-2484.

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