STRUCTURED SETTLEMENT WATCHDOG®
Helped Correct Mischaracterization of Certified Structured Settlement Consultant (CSSC)
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Einstein Structured Settlements/ JRR Funding/ Annuity Sold Practices Exposed (Ongoing)
A New York structured settlement broker marketed himself and his then company as "plaintiff exclusive" to New York and Massachusetts trial lawyer community and the American Association for Justice (AAJ) while at the same time declaring under penalty of perjury that he had provided substantial services to defendants in the preceding 3 years to get on the List of eligible annuity brokers where to be consulted by United States attorneys, where the United States is a defendant. Since the statements were mutually exclusive only one could be true.
Same individual utilized a purported testimonial of 2007 Presidential candidate John Edwards, that suggested John Edwards had actually used the broker's firm, to solicit structured settlement business from New York trial lawyers, including members of the New York Trial Lawyers Association (NYSTLA), via mass distribution.. Yet the timeline math showed that John Edwards became a Congressman before the subject New York broker entered the structured settlement business and thus Edwards could not possibly have used them. Furthermore, if such a testimonial were subsequently made, Edwards could not have truthfully vouched for the broker's work. Further public records research revealed that the subject New York broker was a bundler of campaign contributions for John Edwards The Edwards campaigns in 2004 and 2007 solicited campaign contributions from donors including a number structured settlement brokers however, they were not bundlers. Neither Edwards nor his staff had any public comment, would neither confirm nor deny John Edwards made the statement that the broker used to solicit structured settlement annuity business from customers, but the testimonial was hastily removed from the Edwards bundler broker's company website, shortly before the John Edwards/Rielle Hunter affair broke.
The exercise and a subsequent review by the DOJ revealed that a number of self-promoted "plaintiff exclusive" structured settlement brokers from other firms had signed and used similar "under penalty of perjury" declarations to the United States Department of Justice in an effort to get their names placed on a list used by United States Attorneys prosecuting legal cases and with authority to appoint structured settlement annuity brokers, where the United States was a defendant. At least 5 brokers were removed from the list of annuity brokers as a result.
Exposing Fake Testimonials by Structured Settlement Payment Buyers
In mid 2011, internet search for structured settlements was dominated by pages and pages of gibberish titles and descriptions peppered with structured settlement and structured settlement industry related key words, including the names of companies, On its face the search results were of little utility to consumers. However when a frustrated user clicked on any of the links, for some period of time the user was redirected to webuypayments.net a domain that at the time was associated with David Springer. .When I questioned Springer about it in July 2011, he sluffed it of as if it was Google's doing and the issue persisted until Springer and his company were sued by Springer competitors, first by JG Wentworth and a month later by Woodbridge Structured Funding. The Wentworth case, filed in Frederick County MD, settled in March 2012 and the Woodbridge case, filed in Maryland District Court, went all the way to trial in August 2014, before a Judge rendered a decision against the Mt Airy MD resident for liabilty and monetary damages. At the same time of the webuypayments scheme, David Springer and Sovereign Funding Group worked with a company out of Florida and St. Louis, producing commercials, one of which used a $5 actress off the FIverr.com website to fraudulently promote David Springer as a lawyer, when he was not.
In his decisions of law and findngs of fact, Maryland district judge Marvin Garbis found that in or about 2003, David Springer began operating a sole proprietorship in the structured settlement (factoring) business under the Sovereign (Funding Group) name. By the fall of 2011 and continuing thereafter, David Springer had utilized and/or was using questionable business methods, including:
David Springer's vivid imagination led to the creation of numerous aliases and fictitious characters or sock puppets, all of whom supposedly worked for the judicially determined "purported company", Sovereign Funding Group. The purported individuals, sported purported academic credentials promoted on line in public facing social media, did not check out when the academic institutions were contacted. Among the sock puppets that David Springer deployed was President "James Goldstein", whose LinkedIn and Google Plus profiles displayed stock photos of a middle-aged businessman. [Credit to Ohio insurance broker Todd Associates for the heads up. Todd Associates used the same stock photo that Sovereign Funding/David Springer was holding out as its chief executive]. The David Springer created fictitious characters actually appeared to communicate with each other like 'finger puppets" and endorsed one another on LinkedIn to enhance David Springer's dastardly deception, in public facing social media. Coincidentally the fabrication of education credentials for both of the Maryland actors' aliases "Ryan Einstein" and "James Goldstein", involved a false claim of a degree (or degrees in the case of Einstein) from Yale.
Almost two years after being put on notice about David Springer's hijinks with respect to the Sovereign Funding Group BBB listing, on June 15, 2015, almost one year after the trial and more than two months after the judge's decision finding against Springer, The Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland continued to give the defunct David Springer purported company its highest rating, underscoring how unreliable the BBB of Greater Maryland is for structured settlement consumers. Coincidentally BBB of Greater MD only took action in August 2015 after I excoriated them for their inaction on the blog following multiple notices..
What Was Learned about Sovereign Funding Group and David Springer During The Course of The Woodbridge Structured Funding Litigation against David Springer 2011-2015.
In June 2012 David Springer and Sovereign Funding stated in their June 25, 2012 answer to the Woodbridge complaint [MD 1:11-cv-03421-MJG Doc 30] that the company had ceased operations, yet the website continued to operate purportedly under the direction of fictitious character "James Goldstein" at an address that later proved to be a UPS store mailbox in Rockville Maryland purchased by David Springer, in June 2012! David Springer also continued to use a Sovereign Funding Group email address AFTER the time he and Sovereign Funding claimed that the company ceased operations. [Note : The inconsistent timelines in a 2016 publication by David Springer himself on Linkedin raises the spectre that perjury may have been committed]
David Springer has apparently lied so much that he had a hard time keeping track of his timelines or "plot lines".
Springer' math never seems to add up. [Then when the same LinkedIn profile was accessed in March 2017, there were further changes in the timeline].
David Springer includes years that David Springer (1) submitted in June 25, 2012 court filings that the Sovereign Funding had ceased operations (see bullet point immediately above) and (2) a time frame that David Springer claimed not to be in business in an appeal of a legal decision in favor of Erie Insurance Group to the Maryland Court of Appeals , Erie Insurance Group was David Springer's homeowner insurer from whom Springer was attempting to be reimbursed for the cost of defending himself against JG Wentworth's defamation lawsuit against him that was filed in Frederick County MD in October 2011. Moreover, (3) David Springer's current LinkedIn profile conflicts with the 2015 Maryland judicial finding against David Springer, which determined the starting year was 2003. (4) Advertising for Sovereign Funding Group appearing in 2011 also claimed Sovereign was in business for 15 years, to paper over a not so flattering time that David Springer spent on the island of Grenada, as what Offshore Regulator Michael Creft referred to in this 2007 article as the "right hand man" to Laurent Barnabe, the convicted fraudster of First International Bank of Grenada infamy. David Springer however, was never charge; (5) David Springer's LinkedIn in mentions "staff members" at Sovereign Funding Group, while David Springer testified under oath, under the penalty of perjury, in a legal case that he was the sole employee.
David Springer Built on the Lies He Created With His Sock Puppets. Springer Admitted to Submitting False Information to the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland and Other Online Sites and in Social Media
Sovereign Funding Group's Better Business Bureau listing named two people, James Goldstein and Sandy Jackson, both fictitious characters, as of July 13, 2013. David Springer was deposed on June 28, 2013. When a portion of the David Springer deposition was posted on Pacer.gov, it revealed that when deposed, David Springer admitted, under oath , to creating multiple phony names James Goldstein, James Spelling, Alexander Ross, Sandy Jackson and other fake identities such as Karen Jones and Melanie Miller and the later discovered David Smithen, the attendance of the fake identities at schools (that turned out to be fabrications) and several fabricated LinkedIn profiles , Google Plus profiles and the insertion of fake names (James Goldstein and Sandy Jackson) as company contacts on the the BBB report . Evidence of David Springer's use of the alias James Spelling as early as 2008, which was in direct conflict with his June 2013 deposition and June 2014 trial testimony. The fake identity of James Goldstein was also used on Pinterest and Manta, sites which target American consumers. On March 31, 2014 I showed how David Springer's wife, "or her Facebook account" even chatted with her husband's fake character on the Sovereign Funding Group Facebook page.
Again, many of the fake Sovereign Funding Group characters were staged by David Springer to endorse each other on business networking sites like LinkedIn and Google Plus to create an illusion in public facing social media, when it was just David Springer giving himself a "selfie" over and over!
The Sovereign Funding Group BBB report stated on July 24, 2013 that the company had 9 employees, then including the real name David Springer, for the first time in 13 months, among the fictitious names. On August 8, 2013 there were 2 names, David Springer and Sandy Jackson, who does not exist. David Springer testified in the Woodbridge case that he was the sole employee. According to the transcript, Springer also testified under oath in his deposition to be in sole control of the BBB listing for Sovereign Funding Group.
Sovereign Funding Group posted to YouTube in October 2012, advertisements which falsely portrayed paid actresses from Fiverr.com and another pay for testimonial service as "customers who really did business with the company". Sovereign Funding Group failed to disclose that the purported customers were paid actresses [ see Fake Testimonials section below for more details]. Yet notice of Springer's substantial pile of BS was not enough to get the useless BBB of Greater Maryland to do anything timely to protect consumers.
David Springer's connection to Roger Proctor and Genex Capital
In mid May 2012, Roger Proctor of Genex had a lawyer sent me a letter in an unsuccessful attempt to intimidate me to back off researching any connection to him and Springer. The letter was sent by Jeffrey Kolansky of Archer & Greiner PC in Philadelphia after I published evidence I found on line.
Only a week later, a screen shot of the Sovereign Funding Group Outlook provided by a former consultant to Sovereign Funding Group and Genex Strategies, Inc.laid evidence of a business connection between the them via SSQ (a website owned by Genex operating on the webnat structuredsettlement-quotes(dot)com, that purported to be a online exchange. The screenshot clearly showed inquiries from the website going only to Roger Proctor, Boris Drubetsky and David Springer. A copy of an email about paid links for SSQ's SEO addressed to David Springer and Roger Proctor provided by the informant provides further support to the connection. Testimonials appeared on the SSQ website that referred to a James Spelling, a name which David Springer later admitted in a deposition in the Woodbridge litigation was one of his aliases. An SSQ rebuild published in July 2012, included "James Goldstein" as the CEO of Sovereign Funding Group, another alias with David Springer admitted in sworn testimony. That Genex would help perpetuate the fraud that Springer proliferated in creating the James Goldstein alias, such as fake academic credentials raised more questions about Genex than answers.
In September 2012, I learned that Roger Proctor's lawyer was representing Nicholas John Jackson, who was noticed to appear as a witness in the matter of Darer v Does in September 2012. I later learned that Genex paid the legal fees for NIcholas John Jackson and he was represented by the same Jeffrey Kolansky who sent me the letter in mid May 2012.
From May 2012 to June 2015 Genex deliberately concealed its ownership of the SSQ website, which was effectively used to brandjack competitors. Sovereign Funding Group/David Springer feed from our main blog
The Structured Settlement Watchdog has exposed the use of fake testimonials,where "cash now pushers" attempt to get a call to action by falsely portraying that a paid actor or actress has done business with them, displaying a stock photo or a paid video "testimonial" that they obtained from Fiverr.com or BuyTestimonialservices.com. American consumers have the potential to be harmed by those who conduct deceptive practices. Same with yield-starved investors contemplating an investment in structured settlement payment rights.
For example, see my June 21, 2014 blog post on Structured Settlements 4Real, regarding my irreverent investigation into "Kristen", a supposed client of DRB Capital and Imperial Structured Settlements who "called in and received her money in days". Do stock photos have bank accounts? Following our expose and given ample opportunity to disprove our allegations by supplying copies of transfer orders involving the alleged client giving the alleged testimonial (which would have been public record), DRB Capital re-did its website.
Sovereign Funding Group/David Springer
Two such video testimonials were posted promoting Sovereign Funding Group on YouTube in November 2012. One featured a British lass who has done 11,900 of these sorts of videos, according to our research. Her screen name is still "Kymmy Pops", but for the purpose of the Sovereign Funding Group ad she was "Karen S". In another breadcrumb that David Springer cannot keep track of the plotline of his own lies, the description for the Karen S video published in November 2012, says that Sovereign had an A+ BBB rating for 10 years. If that was true then Sovereign/Springer was in business since 2002. Then another fake testimonial for Sovereign Funding Group here under the name Jessica P. Here's the proof of the actress named Samantha, from Buy Testimonial Services (dot)com. "Samantha's fee is $25 to say she's a customer of yours, LOL.
Einstein Structured Settlements/JRR Funding
I then busted Einstein Structured Settlements for two paid for testimonials, one from Fiverr.com and the other from Buytestimonials.com. Read the report about fake Einstein structured settlements Review from Chip here. Read my report about fake Einstein structured settlements review from the "hispanic client" Fabiola (a/k/a Pink Koala) here.
Buyers Who Charge Allstate Life Insurance Company Annuitants More than 8% Rate
Structured Settlement Broker Lands Him & His Company in Mutually Exclusive No-Mans Land
Sovereign Funding Group and David Springer, "The Mt. Airy Faker"
Deception has been the name of the game with Einsteinstructuredsettlements.com, AnnuitySold.com, as they exploit the regulatory gap in the structured settlement secondary market. It's hard to take any brand associating JRR Funding (e.g. Einstein Structured Settlements, Greenspring Funding, Edison Funding, AnnuitySold, Uber Funding, Sell-structured-settlement.com, getastructuredsettlement(dot)com) and structured settlements seriously, since research revealed the use of fake testimonials, fake BBB seals, made for SEO fake seminars advertised in business journals and online newspapers and inaccurate content associated with one or more of these sites.
JRR Funding's "website companies". Fake academic credentials. Fake testimonials.
"Website companies" are websites made to look as if they are real companies. One of them, Einstein Structured Settlements ( sometimes referred to as Einstein Structured Funding), was a notable example of a purported company using fake credentials and paid video reviews. Its founder, " Ryan Einstein'" (one of the pseudonyms for Owings Mills MD poker player and gold dealer Ryan Blank), who was falsely promoted in late 2012 and early 2013 as a PhD and LLM from Yale University. Contact with the the Yale registrar's office proved the claim to be a complete fabrication, as was another reference regarding attendance at UCLA. Ryan Blank, graduated from a school in Charleston, SC. The Structured Settlement Watchdog® was able to determine that two video testimonials were posted in October 2012 (still live), at a time Einstein Structured Settlements had yet to do a deal, according to a conversation I had with Ryan Blank's father Barry Blank. They were later determined to be undisclosed paid reviews. One testimonial claimed that an annuitant raised money from the sale of her structured settlement to buy a Bentley and ocean front property in Miami. Anyone with knowledge of the Florida Structured Settlement Protection Act would have reason to be skeptical of such claims. The supposed Hispanic client was later discovered by research, to be a paid Fiverr actress named Pinkkoala. For those not familiar with Fiverr, it is an online outsource platform where you pay $5 (or a very nominal amount of money) for "a la carte "web related services Unfortunately many folks are not knowledgeable and may therefore be vulnerable to the dreadful attempt by Einstein's ownership to influence consumers under false pretenses. The behavior of those that control Einstein Structured Settlements is notable because they continually demonstrate no desire to correct the stunning level of inaccuracy on their websites.
AnnuitySold's Bogus Claim of Being Licensed to Purchase Annuity Payments in All 50 States
AnnuitySold(dot).com, a newer "website company" associated with Ryan Blank and Owings Mills high school chum Richart Ruddie, has made the outrageous claim that the company is licensed and qualified in all 50 states to purchase annuity payments. Simply not true. There is no such licensing or regulation of settlement purchasers. There should be. That's not all, As of August 2016 the AnnuitySold website is triggered malicious code warnings from McAfee and Norton, two popular cyber-security software publishers.
In late 2013, Einstein Structured Settlements began flooding the internet with web pages displaying repetitive content, save the name of virtually every city, town and hamlet in the United States, in a locations.einsteinstructuredsettlements sub-domain of its website. A survey of two states, via the Secretaries of State for New York and Connecticut, showed no active registration for Einstein Structured Settlements; and no registration ever for that matter.
Einstein Structured Settlements also selectively created numerous web pages associating its competitors' brands with the words "scam" and "complaints". There is also evidence that the promoters of Einstein Structured Settlements placed comment spam on the consumer complaint site Rip Off Report for marketing purposes. That's unfortunately the world we live in. In early 2014 calls to Einstein Structured Settlements toll-free number resolved to Atlanta based "cash now pusher" Fairfield Funding. A call at the beginning of June 2014 reconfirmed this. On July 15, 2014 a call to Einstein Structured Settlements' 888-497-0724 number was returned from 202-417-2122 with the caller ID JRR Funding. The JRR Funding website was subsequently discovered as a sub directory to an Einstein Structured Settlement website. The website conclusively shows the material involvement of Richart Ruddie and Ryan Blank in the entity, despite denials. In January 2015 I discovered a December 6, 2013 Prezi presentation created by Ryan Blank called JRR+Fairfield Success that detailed the "game plan" between JRR Funding LLC,which is led by Ryan Blank, and Fairfield Funding including how scraping of court records was an integral part of the process of how customers were identified and acquired.
Einstein Structured Settlements Settlement Planning Seminar Scam
In September 2014, an associated brand Sell-structured-settlement.com was linked to a fake structured settlement sale seminar advertised on SanJose.com [Read San Francisco Structured Settlement Sale Seminar SEO Motivated Fraud for details]. In late 2014 Einstein solicited tickets what proved to be a phantom structured settlement planning conference,purporting to be at the Holiday Inn downtown Chicago, IL. An ad was taken out in Crains Chicago and tickets were going for $675 for a purported 2 hour meeting. There was no such event at the Holiday Inn according to the general manager of the hotel [Read Einstein Structured Settlements' Chicago Settlement Planning Seminar Fraud].
JRR Funding is associated with Edison Funding and Greenspring Funding as well as Einstein. JRR Funding javascipt was found in the source code of these websites in February 2015. On the one hand JRR's Einstein Structured Settlement alter ego trashes the Better Business Bureau referring to it as a "scam organization" while the other two websites post Better Business Bureau seals with non clickable links. Such links are intended to permit consumers to verify BBB membership. An independent search I made of the BBB local to the addresses stated on each of the websites shows no BBB memberships, drawing only one possible negative conclusion about JRR Funding and its website "offspring".
Einstein Structured Settlements' Reviews of its competitors lack credibility, given its own fraudulent acts
Einstein's reviews of its competitors are primarily used to brandjack its competitors. Why would anyone believe a review published by a brand like Einstein Structured Settlements, that has engaged in false advertising, fraudulent paid testimonials and has promoted fake credentials? Not convinced? Now there's this...
Annuity Sold's Richart Ruddie is Sensationally Exposed in National News Media for Google De-Indexing Scam of Google and Fraud on Rhode island Court, Has to Pay Money, Plea Bargains in Criminal Case
In October 2016 JRR Funding and Annuity Sold's Richart Ruddie was sensationally exposed in the Washington Post for being associated with the filing of phony lawsuits and alleged forgery of parties' names on legal documents to obtain take down orders used to get Google to remove/de-index, by UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, author of The Volokh Conspiracy, one of the top 10 all time leading legal blogs, and Paul Alan Levy of the Public Citizen Law Group . Read the above link and this follow up post by Paul Alan Levy on the Public Citizen blog entitled Profile Defenders and Richart Ruddie: The Common Link Between Two Phony Defamation Suits. Read this November 22, 2016 piece as well Richart Ruddie Companies Sent Forged Papers to Rhode Island Court. On January 31, 2017, a Rhode Island case was vacated and the court granted discovery to determine who paid the filing fee so that they could be pursued. On March 14, 2017 it was announced that Richart Ruddie settled for $71,000 under the Rhode Island Anti-SLAPP statute. Reports in the Washington Post and The Public Citizen indicated that Ruddie was negotiating a plea bargain with the United States Attorney for the District of Rhode Island in the criminal matter over the fraud. As of May 2017, the criminal investigation was ongoing according to publlshed reports..A May 11, 2017 amicus brief written by Paul Alan Levy of the Public CItizen Law Group as part of an effort to vacate a number of the phony consent orders allegedly orchestrated by Ruddie as part of the de-indexing scam provides some good background information.
There was a bizarre tie-in to Richart Ruddie's structured settlement purchasing companies and associated persons involved with Ruddie. The papers in the phony Rhode Island case were delivered to a process server by an Annuity Sold email address and the check for the process server was drawn on the account of RIR1984 LLC which at the time the scam was discovered had Richart Ruddie and Ryan Blank, his Owings Mills high school classmate and colleague in JRR Funding, Annuity Sold and other entities. RIR1984LLC was coincidentally dissolved in October 2016, in the days around the Washington Post
Are companies that purchase structured settlements, targeting and soliciting structured settlement annuitants with large structured settlements to sell their structured settlements in conjunction with unsuitable, or fanciful investment schemes? If the judges presiding over structured settlement transfer hearings knew about the approach they would still approve the transfers?
I've highlighted how a number of companies have been charging a structured settlement annuitant of Allstate Life Insurance Company, or Allstate Life Insurance Company of New York, a discount rate that exceeds the 8% rate for Allstate's Advanced Funding Exchange Notice (AFEN), failing to explore that option with the annuitant and/or failing to tell an Allstate annuitant that they have that option.
The disclosures attached to the publicly available Petition to Transfer Structured Settlement Payment Rights in Seneca One v Cathy Ann Edwards Broward County FL CACE-16-013197 show that Ms. Edwards was being charged a 15.24% effective discount rate by Seneca One. Fortunately the case was voluntarily dismissed on August 15, 2016. Annuitants who have (or had) Allstate structured settlements and were solicited Mr. D, a 29 year old unemployable Allstate structured settlement annuitant with 2 young toddlers, who entered into a questionable cash for structured settlement deal with a NASP member settlement purchaser in November 2013, approached in me at the end of 2013, looking for, but unable to locate, a gentleman named Escobar that he thought worked as an adviser for Wells Fargo, a major US bank. The original structured settlement transfer paperwork, available at the Circuit Court of Indian River County Florida as a matter of public record, indicated that a Boca Raton based company called Client First Funding was involved as well as a Charles Yates LLC, a Wisconsin LLC that used a Madison Wisconsin UPS mailbox as its address of record. The discount rate exceeded Allstate's AFEN Rate of 8%. My call to Client First at the time confirmed that Escobar worked for Client First NOT as a financial adviser at the major US bank. But why did Mr. D think he worked for Wells Fargo? It is a question that bugged me for 2 years, until I got my hands on a copy of a letter on Client First letterhead suggesting investment services with a substantial portion dealing with Wells Fargo . Fortunately Mr. D is OK. While legal intervention was necessary to unwind a deal that was clearly not in his best interest , In the end, with the cooperation of Client First, he was able to have the court order approving the transfer vacated and his payments from Allstate restored. Prior to that, when I spoke with Client First CEO Burt Kroner, in January 2014, about the Mr D. case, he voluntarily referred me to a Wells Fargo representative that they worked with. Shortly thereafter I spoke with that individual who confirmed that Client First was a source of investment business.
Because I care about the structured settlement industry and what it represents, I published a blog in October 2007 titled 4 Days in the Vicinity of Touchdown Jesus Does Not make You One of The Fighting Irish, calling out people in the structured settlement industry who misrepresented the CSSC designation including, in 2009, certain NSSTA Board members. It was observed that some industry participants were even making the ludicrous claim that the 4 day NSSTA CSSC course was part of an Executive MBA program. The Certified Structured Settlement Consultant is a professional designation, also known by the acronym CSSC, is earned as the result of a professional certification program by the National Structured Settlements Trade Association (NSSTA) that is hosted at the Stayer Education Center, at the University of Notre Dame each year, in South Bend Indiana. NSSTA has been awarding the CSSC to members who qualify, for approximately 22 years. To meet certification requirements, which do not include matriculation at University of Notre Dame, prospective designees must also meet experience requirements. It took a few years of prodding, but now most CSSC holders properly reflect how they earned the certificate. Now the NSSTA website has clear definitions of its designations on its website.
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