The Justice Department on Wednesday filed a lawsuit accusing an Orange County auto financing company of illegally repossessing a vehicle from a military service member without a court order.

The lawsuit filed at the U.S. District Courthouse in Santa Ana alleges that California Auto Finance, a subprime auto lender based in the city of Orange, violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which requires a court to approve any repossession if someone took out the loan and made a payment prior to entering military service..

According to the lawsuit, California Auto Finance in May 2016 repossessed a car belonging to a United States Army private during her first day of active military training. The car was parked at the Cedar Rapids, Iowa home of the woman’s grandmother.

Justice Department officials say the woman notified California Auto Finance a month prior that she was entering the military.

Officials with California Auto Finance did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.

“We have a solemn duty to protect the rights of the men and women who bravely serve in our nation’s armed forces,” said United States Attorney Nicola T. Hanna of the Central District of California in a written statement. “By repossessing servicemembers’ automobiles without court orders, California Auto Finance allegedly violated their rights. We respect and honor the sacrifice that servicemembers have made to our country, and we will take whatever action we can to protect their rights.”

Citing a “lack of policies or practices to verify the the military status of borrowers before repossessing their vehicles,” the lawsuit contends that California Auto Finances “may have repossessed motor vehicles, without court orders, from other servicemembers who had made a deposit or installment payment to Defendant prior to entering military service and were in military service at the time of the repossession.”

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages, as well as civil penalties.

The lawsuit was jointly filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.