[Mar. 28th, 2005|09:15 pm]

Before you even read this press release, let me say that I’ve already been contacted by WOAI radio (1200 AM) in San Antonio and they should be running a story on it (including some quotes by me) tomorrow morning between five and nine. I assume it will also be posted on their site as well at some point. The station is also owned by Clear Channel; maybe the story will go national.

PRESS RELEASE:

Military Values Group Calls for Investigation into Abuse of Military
Personnel by Credit Lenders

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 28, 2005

Contact: William Pate
512/947-3311

AUSTIN — Reports have surfaced that American military personnel
stationed overseas are having stateside financial troubles through no
fault of their own. Rather, some American lending firms are ignoring
the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, foreclosing on homes and
vehicles and ruining soldiers’ credit histories while those soldiers
are overseas taking part in the war on terror.

“What we’re seeing here is a pattern of abuse by private financial
companies against low-paid American soldiers overseas fighting for our
country and their families at home,” said DAIA President William Pate.
“First, we had investment and insurance companies going onto military
bases to dupe younger soldiers into investing high-cost, low-yield
financial accounts. Now banks and other financial institutions are illegally
foreclosing on families’ homes while their servicemember is in a
combat zone,” he said.

A recent example from Fort Hood, Texas, illustrates the struggles with
which military families must deal when their servicemember is overseas
and lenders ignore the law. According to a report in The New York
Times on March 28, 2005, Sgt. Michael Gaskins of Fort Hood was ordered
to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His departure left his
wife to cope with the potential loss of their truck after a county
judge ruled that they had defaulted on a loan and must forfeit their
truck in repayment, a ruling that is in violation of the
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

According to The New York Times, “The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act,
protects all active-duty military families from foreclosures,
evictions and other financial consequences of military service. The
Supreme Court has ruled that its provisions must ‘be liberally
construed to protect those who have been obliged to drop their own
affairs to take up the burdens of the nation.'”

The House Financial Services Committee held hearings last year on
insurance and mutual fund firms which fraudulently sell high-cost,
low-yield accounts to American soldiers on military bases.

Defending America’s Integrity Alliance calls for a campaign to
heighten awareness about the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and for
Congressional investigations into those firms and government officials
currently violating the act.

“All claims of profiting at the expense of our soldiers should be
immediately investigated by Congress,” Mr. Pate said.

###

The Defending America’s Integrity Alliance is a group of citizens who
promote and defend the United States Armed Forces’ Core Values in
American society.

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