You Hate the Secondary Market , Don't You?
No, I've always believed the secondary market has its place for people who need liquidity and cannot obtain it from any other source. My firm may be one of the only ones in the structured settlement primary market that has for years had a written policy statement on factoring, although now there is one settlement planning firm that has for almost two years openly advertised it sells structured settlement derivatives.. There are people who genuinely try to do the right thing. There are people that really care about the integrity of the industry. These are people with whom I have an open dialogue. But there has always been an unmistakable malodorous sleaze factor to the structured settlement secondary market as a result of repeated acts that for years its leadership denied. It' s a shame that the industry forebearers did not agree to adequate regulation from the beginning, before people got hurt financially.
Can You Elaborate on the Focus of the Structured Settlement Watchdog?
Isn't this a "Scorched Earth" Marketing Strategy?
Far from it. "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman." Louis Brandeis Supreme Court Judge (1845-1941)
I'm just opening the window and letting the sunshine in. Primary market structured settlement participants have complained about the business practices of factoring companies, but few do anything about it except complain to each other and the National Structured Settlements Trade Association (NSSTA). I am a long standing member of NSSTA. This is not a criticism of other members, or the NSSTA,, but a statement made on the basis of more than a decade of observation. Many structured settlement secondary market participants routinely complain about the business conduct of competitors and a number of opined that the secondary market is in a race to the bottom. DRB Capital has released multiple press releases about its $100,000 bounty fund in which extensive details of alleged practices in the structured settlement secondary market are revealed. If there was a regulator of the structured settlement secondary market (which in my opinion there should be) they could complain to the regulator. Instead many complain to me. I write primarily during my spare time.
(1) To root out and correct inaccuracy in the online structured settlement space,
(2) To highlight and encourage, potential informants and other commentators who expose, or help to expose, bad business practices with a goal to help improve the greater structured settlement industry.
Practices such as:
(3) To establish and main higher standards for Independent Professional Advice (Structured Settlement IPA) under state structured settlement protection acts. Rockville MD lawyer, Charles E. Smith Jr and his law firm CES Law Group LLC, are an example of what not to do. Smith and his firm were sued for legal malpractice in June 2015 with claims arising out of his alleged IPA services in connection with a structured settlement transfer of someone with cognitive deficits that included the inability to read. Charles E Smith, JR was a defendant, among others, in a lawsuit brought by the Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh as well as a class action lawsuit in Baltimore City on behalf of numerous lead paint victims who were allegedly exploited by Smith and other defendants. In November 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Board filed suit against attorney Charles E. Smith and refers to Smith as a sham adviser as part of its crack down on Access Funding and its principals Lee Jundanian, Raffi Boghosian and others related to an alleged scam on Baltimore inner city lead paint victims with structured settlements. Read my November 2018 article about how Charles E. Smith shafted more than a dozen Allstate structured settelment annuitants, including the late Freddie Gray and his sisters by approving that deals with discount rates well in excess of Allstate's AFEN discount rate of 8% were in the annuitant's best interest. Anuj Sud, a College Park MD attorney connected with many of the Access Funding deals, was busted for taking bribes while liquor commissioner in Prince Georges County MD.
(4) To seek resolution for structured settlement annuitants and help preserve the integrity of the industry by reporting instances where a structured settlement protection act's "best interest standard" has been inadequately enforced. A judge who may not have examined the seller in person is the only thing that stands between a vulnerable seller and financial oblivion..There have been some true horror stories that must see the light of day. An example of the kind of abuse I'm referring to is where someone with cognitive deficits has had multiple sell transactions approved in a year and has never appeared before judge at any hearing before a "qualified order" was obtained. Blistering Washington Post articles about the alleged exploitation of annuitants in Baltimore inner city at the hands of Access Funding inspired legislative and judicial reforms in Maryland. Similar loud pot banging raised awareness in other states such as Virginia, Florida and in the District of Columbia. There is still plenty of work to be done.
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STRUCTURED SETTLEMENT WATCHDOG®
Structured Settlement Watchdog® John Darer's commentary is informative, irreverent and effective. John Darer's watchdog commentary has been so effective, that for a period of time in 2012, several secondary market bad actors, whose sordid business practices were being investigated and exposed, registered multiple internet domains using John's name, and posted fake complaints on complaint sites in May 2012 and December 2012 containing the most 'over the top" trolling in an unsuccessful effort to stifle our investigation. The regulatory dichotomy enables such behavior. Now, six years later, my quest for the truth keeps marching on and the circumstances of several trolls from the "Maryland Cauldron of Deceit", like the "Mt. Airy Faker" David Springer and Owings Mills native Richart Ruddie, (whose associated companies were banned in Maryland for 7 years after a Maryland Attorney General investigation and who had to plea bargain with the Rhode Island United Sates attorney for mercy after Ruddie, in the name of " reputation management" was caught in a fraud on the court) took a turn for the worse.
I choose to be open and discuss real issues, while others chose snipe falsehoods from the comfort of anonymity and make cowardly ad hominem attacks, instead of proposing solutions to legitimate issues raised. Some people use my name for cover on those sites.. The Rip Off Reports and Pissed Consumers aren't credible on their face. If they were true, I would not be in business. I would not be able to hold an insurance or securities license.
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In over 30 years in financial services:
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